Police Seargent Found Not Guilty After Pinning Teen to Sidewalk

In an incident that was reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd, a Chicago police sergeant was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct after pinning a 14-year-old boy to the sidewalk while off duty. During a bench trial, the sergeant was found not guilty of the charges, although he remains on leave after having his police duties stripped. The family says they plan on filing a civil lawsuit in the case.

A viral video of the incident made its way across social media, stoking animosity toward the sergeant and police in general. The sergeant could be seen with his knee on the boy’s back. The boy was face down, lying on the ground. 

According to reports, the officer believed that his son’s stolen bicycle was spotted near a Starbucks. The officer found the bicycle near a group of teens and waited to see if anyone would take it. The 14-year-old touched the bicycle to move it, and that is when the officer confronted him. The officer grabbed the teen, placed him in an arm bar, and pushed him to the ground. Then he placed his knee on the teen’s back. 

Analyzing the Allegations

Police are not supposed to have special rights that go above and beyond what an average person has. In these cases involving police officers, the same rules apply to them that would apply to anyone. In a case like this, the question then becomes: Was the act of physically restraining the teen legal for the circumstances? In this case, the police officer was confronting the teen over allegedly stolen property. 

The judge, who presided over the case and rendered a verdict, did not find the testimony of the teens credible. He believed that the teens had changed their stories several times and may have been pressured to testify because of an impending civil trial. Nonetheless, the officer was acquitted of the charges, although it remains unclear specifically how the teen’s testimony impacted the verdict and how the officer’s conduct was justified because of the testimony. In cases like this, it can be difficult to convict police officers who believe they are in the right. 

Police officers often choose bench trials over jury trials in today’s political climate. The video was reminiscent of the George Floyd incident and stoked the ire of many on social media. So, it became a smart idea to allow the judge to decide the case rather than a jury. Judges tend to be less swayed by emotion than jurors, who may have found it difficult to look past the video. A judge, on the other hand, considered the totality of evidence and inconsistent accounts related to the teen’s testimony. 

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents facing serious criminal charges. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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