A white Chicago officer has been officially charged after an altercation with a Black woman who was walking her dog. The defendant has since resigned from the police force and has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct. The 52-year-old officer resigned prior to an official disciplinary hearing.
The altercation ensued when the officer found a woman walking her dog along the beach. The officer detained the woman and told her the beach was closed. The woman said she felt threatened and asked the officer to step back. At that point, the officer grabbed the woman. The incident was not only caught on bodycam but a bystander recorded much of the altercation.
The victim told the press that she believed the incident was racially motivated. She also said that she did not believe that all cops were bad people, but this particular cop was a bad apple. As a criminal defense attorney, you wish that people remembered the entirety of the cliche. A few bad apples can spoil the bunch.
At the time of his termination, the officer had 25 complaints filed against him, three of which were sustained. The most serious involved a disciplinary action related to a domestic incident in Tennessee. The officer allegedly verbally abused a complainant and threatened them with a gun. The officer further refused to listen to police commands and was subsequently suspended for 20 days.
This ostensibly will be his last complaint. However, the police union maintains that District Attorney Kim Foxx has launched a race-based attack against the officer—the mirror image of the complainant’s statement against him. They maintain that the officer was lenient after the woman refused to remove herself and her dog from the beach.
An attorney for the plaintiff characterized the police union’s response as ridiculous. Frankly, it is tone-deaf and offensive.
This is an awkward statute because any government official can be charged under this statute for any crime they commit. So, if you were charged with grabbing someone unlawfully, you could be charged with battery or aggravated battery depending on the circumstances. If you are a police officer, however, they tack another felony onto your charges. The only criteria for official misconduct is that the official performs an act that they know is forbidden by law.
Here, it is not so clear that the officer “knew” that he was committing an act forbidden by law. The officer may have been under the impression that grabbing a woman who was not responding to direct commands was within the purview of his job description.
The officer and his defense team will argue that the officer’s conduct was within the scope of his official duties. Nonetheless, a large officer manhandling a small woman who is walking her dog on the beach is not going to play well with a jury or the public.
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David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with serious crimes in the Chicago area. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin discussing your case and preparing your defense immediately.