Chicago Police Sergeant charged in brutality case

 

A Chicago Police Sergeant was arrested and is facing felony criminal charges in connection with the arrest of a defendant last October in which the sergeant is captured on videotape repeatedly slapping the man across the face despite the fact that the defendant was handcuffed and in compliance with police orders, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced.

Sergeant Edward Howard Jr., 48, appeared in bond court where he was charged with Aggravated Battery (Class 3 felony) and Official Misconduct (Class 3 felony) for commission of the offense in his official capacity as a Chicago Police Officer. Howard has been employed as a Chicago Police Officer since August of 1986.

“It’s a sad and difficult day for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted,” said Alvarez. “We recognize that police officers have difficult jobs and work under challenging circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this officer’s senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust.”

According to prosecutors, the incident occurred on Oct. 11, 2010 at approximately 10:15 p.m. in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes. The 19-year-old victim and two friends had been arrested by two Chicago Police Officers for Criminal Trespass to Land after walking out of the restaurant.

The victim immediately complied with the orders of the responding police officers, walked to the squad car in the parking lot and placed his hands on the car. The officers handcuffed him behind his back and searched him without incident. Other officers began to arrive and after the scene had been secured, Sgt. Howard arrived and walked up to the victim. While several officers watched, Howard struck the victim on three separate occasions across the face with an open hand. The final strike was forceful enough to knock the victim backwards and off balance against the squad car.

The 19-year-old victim sustained cuts, bruising and swelling to his upper and lower lips and redness and swelling to the face. The victim was taken to the 6th police district for processing after the incident and released from custody several hours later. That same morning the victim and his mother reported the incident to the Independent Police Review Authority for investigation and the case was then referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office to be reviewed for criminal charges.

Videotaped footage recovered from the restaurant’s surveillance system corroborates both the victim and other eyewitness accounts of the defendant’s abusive use of force against the handcuffed victim, according to prosecutors.

Howard surrendered to authorities and subsequently appeared in bond court at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California.

Alvarez thanked the Independent Police Review Authority and the Chicago Police Department for their cooperation in the investigation.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.