Suburban Police Lieutenant indicted in Brutality Case

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A Park Ridge Police Lieutenant has been indicted on multiple charges of battery and official misconduct for beating two teen-aged boys who had vandalized his car in an incident that took place in 2006, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Jason Leavitt, age 39 and a 16-year veteran of the Park Ridge Police Department, surrendered to authorities without incident, and he was scheduled to appear in bond court at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building yesterday (11/15/10)  to make his initial appearance on the unsealed indictment. Leavitt is charged with three counts of Aggravated Battery (Class 3 felony) and seven counts of Official Misconduct (Class 3 felony).

The charges stem from an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of October 28, 2006, when Leavitt was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle. The two 15-year-old victims were in a cemetery in Park Ridge and were shooting at cars with a slingshot as they drove past on Touhy Avenue. The victims struck the defendant’s personal car as he was driving past, shattering his rear window.

According to court documents, Leavitt radioed the Park Ridge Police dispatcher about the incident and chased the victims as they fled the cemetery. Leavitt caught up to one of the victims as he attempted to escape by climbing over a fence and struck him on the back of the head with an unidentified object causing him to lose consciousness.

According to court documents, he then continued beating the victim until a responding police officer pulled Leavitt offf and handcuffed the victim. The defendant struck the victim an additional time as he was being placed in the officer’s squad car.

A short distance away, a second group of responding officers had apprehended the second victim and had handcuffed him and left him lying on the ground on his stomach. Leavitt then traveled to that location and approached the second victim as he lay on the ground and began kicking him in the back of the head causing him to chip his tooth and scrape his chin.

While still handcuffed and in the back of a squad car, Leavitt attacked the second victim a second time and began punching him in the face. The victim attempted to escape the attack by sliding over to opposite side of the car. Leavitt then walked around to the other side of the vehicle, opened the ddoor and continued to punch the victim.

Both of the victims were transported to the Park Ridge police station and where their juvenile cases were later dismissed. The day after the incident one of the juveniles received medical treatment for a concussion.

With the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office began in investigation after learning of the incident in January of 2009.

The state criminal investigation remains ongoing.

Leavitt appeared at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California at 11 a.m. in courtroom 101 where his indictment was announced.

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

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