Chicago police officer faces 90-day suspension over possible firing over role in body-butting case

The Chicago Police Commission on Thursday passed a resolution suspending the officer for 90 days after another group of police officers punched a man with schizophrenia during his arrest nearly four years ago.

According to the Board’s written judgment, Officer Mark Johnson was found guilty of all but one of the administrative charges brought against him. Former CPD aide. David Brown recommended that Johnson be fired from the department for his actions.

A court case Thursday centered around the November 28, 2019 assault arrest of Bernard Kirsch, which was videotaped by a bystander and made national headlines.

Officer Gerald Williams approached Kirsch after spotting him drinking a bottle of vodka at a bus stop on East 79th Street, 800 blocks, according to the Police Department of Civil Liability. During the encounter, Kirsch licked and spat on former mixed martial arts fighter Williams.

Video captured by a bystander showed Williams picking up Kirsch and slamming him with a body slam. Kirsch, 32, hit his head on a curb and lay “immobile on the road,” COPA said.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was arrested for spitting on Chicago police officer Gerald Williams, stands next to Reverend Bernard Kirsch and addresses reporters as he leaves Cook County Jail in December 2019.

Andy Grimm/The Sun-Times File

Johnson arrived seconds later and allegedly dragged an unconscious Kirsch into the back of a police vehicle without waiting for doctors to examine his injuries, according to COPA. Nor did Kirsch be secured inside the vehicle with a safety belt.

According to the ruling, Johnson’s treatment of Kirsch was “disrespectful to Kirsch and did not meet the CPD’s standards for the transfer of arrested persons.”

COPA also said Mr Johnson did not turn on his body camera during the incident, and Mr Johnson said in the report, “Bernard Kirsch was on alert before being placed in a marked Chicago police vehicle. , and made misleading remarks, such as suggesting that he was reacting.” , or words to that effect. ”

But the committee found Mr Johnson not guilty of making misleading statements in the report, and there was sufficient evidence to prove “Mr Kirsch was unconscious during his interaction with the officers.” said there wasn’t. The commission also said at least two police officers present at the scene expressed “the belief that Mr. Kirsch remained unconscious.”

In making this decision, the board said that while the first few minutes of interaction between Johnson and Kirsch “violated several CPD rules,” all subsequent interaction “outweighed courtesy and respect under difficult circumstances.” It’s nothing,” he said.

The board also cited Mr Johnson’s “admirable track record” with the department as a factor in the executive’s decision to suspend him.

This is the second time Johnson’s name has appeared on a police commission in recent months. in January, Police Commission agreed with COPA recommendations Johnson was suspended for 366 days in 2018 after he was accused of gratuitously assaulting a student at a Chicago public school while off duty.

Kirsch spent a week in prison before posting bail for spitting on Williams. Kirsch, who has a history of mental illness, was arrested again weeks later on suspicion of trying to push past a security guard at Jewel Osco in the South Loop without paying for a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of tequila.

COPA said that Williams Those with a long history of suspected misconduct, Excessive force was used in knocking Kirsch to the ground, but the watchdog denied five other charges, including lethal force and making false statements.

After COPA recommended a 45-day suspension for Williams, Brown requested a longer 135-day suspension in a letter to COPA in February 2021.

Nearly two years later, Williams is still unsuspended. A police spokesperson previously said the case was still under “complaints.” In the meantime Williams was promoted to Sergeant.

Submitted by Kirsch Civil Rights Lawsuits Underway Against City of Chicago, Williams, Johnson and other executives are seeking more than $200,000. Earlier this year, a judge dismissed Johnson from the case. Kirsch’s attorneys have filed a motion seeking reinstatement of Johnson as a defendant.

Contributor: Tom Schuber Chicago police officer faces 90-day suspension over possible firing over role in body-butting case

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