Video footage showed a 6’6” officer pushing and punching a mentally-ill patient in the face. Yet this officer has had all charges against him dismissed. A department beleaguered by numerous complaints of police brutality and violent criminal activity now faces another scandal in which their reputation hangs in the balance.
Rayshon Gartley was involuntarily committed to Jackson Park Hospital. He was escorted there by police officer Clauzell Gause. Gartley was handcuffed when he was being pushed, and at one point, held down on the bed while punched.
Gause was initially charged by Cook County prosecutors, but those charges have since been dismissed. Here, we will take a closer look at why.
Why the Case Against Gause was Dismissed
The incident, which happened five years ago, clearly shows Gause beating a restrained Gartley. Prosecutors, however, claim that Gartley has been noncooperative in requests to testify against Gause. Does this add up?
It is hard to say. The prosecutor is claiming that Gartley’s testimony is required for the state to meet its burden of proof. Yet as a patient of a hospital who had been involuntarily committed, it is hard to say how reliable his testimony would have been. At the point that the state is relying on a mentally ill patient to provide testimony that will convict a defendant, you have to wonder if they have any case at all.
In this case, it would appear they did. The prosecution certainly did not appear to need Gartley’s testimony to convict a man who was caught on camera beating a restrained psychiatric patient. So it appears to be a pretense for simply dropping the case against Gause.
On the other hand, Gartley was willing to make a statement for his personal injury lawyer who successfully sued the city for $175,000. Meanwhile, Gartley’s attorney claims that the state’s attorneys never made an effort to contact him. The state’s attorneys claim they made numerous such attempts.
Gartley’s attorney later issued a statement saying that prosecutors could have made an effort to convict Gause based on the video evidence alone and that it was inappropriate for them to drop charges with clear video evidence against the defendant.
Prosecutors Dragged Their Feet in Charging Gause
To whit, Gartley is not a reliable witness and there is considerable evidence against Gause. Further indicating that the prosecution was not enthusiastic about pursuing charges was the fact that they made no attempt to charge Gause until 2016, two years after the event. They may have felt pressure from the media as public outcry concerning the brutality grew louder.
While some attorneys have said that even an incendiary video might not have been enough to convict a police officer, the prosecution’s conduct, in this case, is troubling for the aforementioned reasons. It provides yet more evidence that there is no one watching the watchers.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a serious crime in Chicago, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law can provide you with expert representation that forces the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Give us a call at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment today.
(image courtesy of Matt Popovich)