An off-duty police officer accused a teen of stealing his son’s bike. The teen believes he was profiled only because he was Black. The ensuing altercation was caught on video and the family is calling for the DA to press charges. In the video, the officer can be seen pressing his knee into the teen’s back in a scene eerily reminiscent of the George Floyd incident.
The teen’s friends intervened on his behalf as the officer accused the teen of stealing his son’s bike. The teen appears to be the only person with brown skin in the area at the time, according to the family. The officer works for Chicago P.D. but the incident happened in another jurisdiction, Park Ridge. The incident is being investigated by both Chicago and Park Ridge P.D. There has yet to be an announcement whether criminal charges against the officer will be pursued.
It is completely unclear why the officer thought the boy had stolen his son’s bike, if the bike looked like a previously stolen bike, or what was going on in the officer’s mind at the time he chose to detain the boy while off-duty. What is clear is that the officer conducted no investigation, did not ask the boy any questions, and did not have the authority to pursue the matter without more information.
Will the Officer be Charged?
The officer will claim that he was defending property when he apprehended the teenager whom he believed had stolen his son’s bike. What the officer thought at the time is important to the investigation. If the officer had thought anything other than the bike previously belonged to his son, then there would be no question as to whether or not he broke the law.
Details are sketchy here, so it remains unclear if the officer thought the boy was in the process of stealing the bike or if the officer thought the boy was in possession of a stolen bike. It is probable that the bike was the same make and model as his son’s. However, that is not enough evidence to pursue an individual. Typically, bikes can be traced due to etchings made by the owner that are peculiar to their bike. In this case, it appears the officer was plain wrong. The bike did not belong to his son. The bike belonged to the boy who was on the ground with a knee in his back.
Police officers enjoy qualified immunity which means they cannot be sued for negligence actions committed in the line of duty. But this was purely personal and the officer was wrong about the bike. The officer could face charges of battery for mistaking the boy for a bike thief, but battery requires illegal intent. The family could file a negligence lawsuit against the officer on the grounds of personal injury, but you can confront someone who you believe is in the process of stealing your bike. You cannot batter anyone who has the same bike.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Think someone stole your son’s bike but it turns out to be their own bike? Then you need a Chicago criminal defense attorney. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.