Burris moves lawsuit against Centralia city manager to federal court

EAST ST. LOUIS — In response to having his lawsuit against Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey thrown out of Marion County Court last week, Centralia resident Vernell Burris has filed his complaint in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis Tuesday.

Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey

Circuit Judge Daniel Hartigan dismissed Burris’ lawsuit last week saying that under the Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, Ramey has absolute immunity from civil claims.

Burris claims that Ramey’s policies and leadership as city manager have resulted in the violation of his civil rights and an increase in “violent and lawless” actions of criminals in Centralia.

Burris filed his suit in response to the City’s failure to hire more police officers. In his suit Burris claimed there are sufficient funds in the budget to cover the additional officers and the extra manpower is necessary to reduce the city’s increased crime rate.

Currently, the Centralia PD is staffed by 23 police officers, including Police Chief Brian Atchison, after one officer recently resigned to work as a dispatcher.

According to circuit court records, Ramey will be resigning his position with the City of Centralia this month. Ramey announced his intention last year to retire in January 2018.