Taylorville Police are responding after body cam footage was released and an Illinois Times article was released concerning an incident that occurred on the 4th of July in 2021. Body cam footage of a situation with Zane Merreighn was released. Merreighn would later the next day sexually assault a minor. In the video Merreighn is seen with open cans of cannabis, alcohol, and underage girls. Merreighn would be arrested in October after a minor told investigators in August, that they had a sexual relationship with him. You can see the video of the body cam footage here.
Taylorville Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler wanted to release the video because he feels transparency is important for the department. He says he was proud of his officers for the way they handled the situation. Chief Wheeler says that he knows that there are members of the public who thought that Merreighn was receiving special treatment. Chief Wheeler says that was absolutely not the case.
Chief Wheeler says that the police had discretion over what they wanted to do with the marijuana that was found. He says Officer Jody Grove’s biggest concern was the safety of the girls and whether there was a weapon.
Wheeler says it was unclear whether there was a weapon or not.
Merreighn mentioned several times in the video that his mom was a detective. Chief Wheeler says that she never contacted Taylorville Police about the incident.
Merreighn is currently in Sangamon County Jail with a bond set at $250,000 with 10% to apply.
To see the Taylorville Police Facebook post where they address the situation, click here.