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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Police Sergeant Charged in Hitting Cuffed Teen

Sergeant Charged After Slapping Cuffed Man
NBC CHICAGO by Lisa Balde, Charlie Wojciechowski and BJ Lutz - April 15, 2011

Surveillance video recorded Sgt. Edward Howard Jr. slapping 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries several times - Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, faces charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct for "commission of the offense," according to a statement released Friday by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

A Chicago Police sergeant was arrested and charged Friday after he repeatedly slapped a handcuffed man across the face. Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, was charged with charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for "commission of the offense," according to a statement released Friday by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Howard's attorney said his client, a 24-year veteran of the force, was only trying to defend himself. [Jeffries] attempted to spit on Sergeant Howard, and that was the reason for the strikes," said Robert Kuzas. "He has no disciplinary record. As a matter of fact, he's received several awards from the City of Chicago, from the Chicago Police Department and the community from which he lives." The incident happened around 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2010 during the arrest of 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries. Jeffries and two of his friends were friends were arrested in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes by two officers for criminal trespass. According to prosecutors, Jeffries complied with the officers' orders and was handcuffed and searched. They said Howard arrived after the scene was secured, walked up to Jeffries and struck him three separate times while several officers watched. One slap even knocked Jeffries off balance. "It is a sad and difficult day for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted," Alvarez said in the prepared statement. "This officer's senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust." Jeffries had cuts, bruising and swelling to his upper and lower lips, and redness and swelling, he said. He was released early in the morning following his arrest and later filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority, which turned the case over to Alvarez's office. Howard, a sergeant in the Gresham District, was ordered held on $20,000 bond after appearing in Cook County Criminal Court on Friday afternoon. He paid $2,000 and left the criminal courts building at about 1:30 p.m. As he left the building, a television reporter tripped and fell. It was Howard who reached down to help the reporter back to his feet. Kuzas said that behavior is more indicative of Howard's personality than the charges he now faces. Vague details of the October 2010 were first reported shortly they occurred. At that time, then-Supt. Jody Weis declined to identify Howard or provide details on the case, but said he took immediate action. "This type of allegation we take very, very seriously," Weis said just days later. "There's just no room for any type of brutality." The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Mark Donahue, slammed Weis for exposing the investigation at such an early stage. The investigation into the incident later ensnared six other officers. They were put on administrative duty and four of them finally returned to work just last week. Two other officers, reinstated days after the incident, later sued Weis after being reprimanded because their names were included on the police report. They later proved, through GPS records, that they weren't in the area during the incident.


Cop charged with battery posts bail
The Chicago Tribune by Jason Meisner and Jeremy Gorner - April 15, 2011

Sergeant accused of hitting handcuffed teen

A Chicago police sergeant was charged with two felonies for allegedly slapping a teen whose hands were cuffed behind his back, but the veteran officer's attorney contended he was provoked when the suspect tried to spit on him. Flanked by several colleagues, Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, walked out of the Cook County Criminal Courts Building on Friday afternoon after posting $20,000 bail and jumped into a waiting SUV. The 24-year veteran faces charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct stemming from the alleged incident outside a South Side restaurant Oct. 11. In announcing the charges, prosecutors released an uneven, 94-second surveillance video from the King Gyros parking lot, 7904 S. Vincennes Ave., that showed Howard approach 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries while he was already handcuffed and deliver three quick open-handed slaps to his head while several other Gresham District officers looked on.


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