Ill. officer critically wounded returns to work, awarded Purple Heart
Sgt. Lind has made great progress in recovering from his injuries, including a cracked skull, while attempting to take a suspect into custody in October, the chief said
By Thomas Geyer
Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa
EAST MOLINE, Ill. — With a lot of hard work and support from his family and brothers and sisters in blue, East Moline Police Sgt. William "Billy" Lind, who was critically injured while attempting to arrest a wanted man in October, has made it back to work.
For now, he is on restricted duty, but Police Chief Jeff Ramsey said Lind has made amazing progress from the injuries he suffered, including a cracked skull, while attempting to take an arson suspect into custody in October.
During a ceremony Monday, Lind received the East Moline Police Department's Purple Heart Award from Ramsey. The award is presented to an officer who has received a serious injury resulting from an assault with potentially lethal force while acting in the line of duty.
"Sergeant Lind has made great progress in recovering from the serious head injuries suffered in the incident back in October of 2022," Ramsey told the Times on Thursday.
"The severity of his injuries was very serious and he continues to work with his doctors on what his restrictions are regarding his job duties as a police officer," Ramsey added.
"Sergeant Lind is currently on restricted duty with our department, and it will be up to the medical doctors on whether Sergeant Lind can be released for full duty as a police officer," he said.
"We continue to support Sergeant Lind and his family and want the best for him" Ramsey said. "Regardless of the outcome, we are very happy with where Sergeant Lind is with his recovery from this very serious and scary situation and glad he is back to a good quality of life for himself and his family."
Ramsey said that Lind "acted heroically, courageously and without regard for his own personal safety in a commitment to the protection of our community in East Moline."
At about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2022, Lind was attempting to arrest Adrian W. Rogers, 52, of East Moline, who was wanted by Rock Island Police in connection with an arson investigation. The fire had been set just a few hours prior to the two men's encounter.
Rock Island firefighters responded to the blaze about 3:40 p.m. in the 1600 block of 12th Street, and Rogers is accused of knowing that a woman was inside the house at the time, police said. She escaped without injury, but the home sustained considerable damage.
After the fire Rogers had gone to the East Moline Police Department about 4 p.m. and just happened to speak with Lind.
"He wanted to talk to someone about a person who he said was a danger to people or children," Chief Ramsey said the day after the incident. "He did not seek out Lind specifically, and it is just a coincidence that Lind spoke with Rogers."
Rogers did not stay at the station long and he was not communicating clearly, Ramsey said.
At about 5 p.m. Rock Island police issued a notice that identified Rogers as a suspect in the arson, records show.
When Lind then located Rogers on Morton Drive about 90 minutes later, Rogers tried to walk away, police said. Lind advised Rogers he was not free to leave and attempted to subdue him, grabbing Rogers' upper body, according to court records.
Police said Rogers then struck Lind in the face causing him to fall to the ground unconscious.
Rogers struck Lind in the head, causing severe injuries, including skull fractures. Rogers then left Lind lying unconscious in or near the street, police said. Lind's body camera captured the incident.
Lind was discovered by fellow officers who were responding to Lind's call for backup.
Lind earned 2021 Officer of the Year honors from the Breakfast Optimist Club that serves the Illinois Quad-Cities. He was nominated for is work at the Quad-City Federal Gang Task Force where he spearheaded one of the largest cases in the task force for illegal drug and weapon distribution in the Quad-City area. He also worked to stop several shootings in the spring of 2021 between two gangs that led to multiple arrests for firearms violations.
Rogers was released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on July 1, 2021, after serving about 26 years for convictions related to drug trafficking and a bank robbery with a firearm. During the federal investigations into Roger's illicit activities, he was found to be a key figure in the Mexico-to-Los Angeles-to-Quad-Cities drug ring.
Rogers is facing charges of attempted murder and aggravated arson, each a Class X felony under Illinois law that carry a prison sentence of six to 30 years. He also is charged with residential arson, a Class 1 felony that carries a prison sentence of four to 15 years, as well as aggravated battery to a peace officer, a Class 2 felony that carries a prison sentence of three to seven years.
During a hearing Nov. 30, 2022, Rock Island County Circuit Judge Frank Fuhr deemed that Rogers was unfit to stand trial. Rogers was placed into the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 23 in Circuit Court.
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