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Suit: Chicago Heights cops harassed homeless man, infant son at library

Three Chicago Heights police officers harassed a homeless man and his infant son in a public library in the south suburb earlier this year, a federal lawsuit claims.

Michael Petway was at the library April 18 with his 6-month-old child secured and covered in a stroller, according to the suit filed against the city of Chicago Heights Thursday in U.S. District Court.

While Petway trying to use the computers, an officer thought there were belongings in the stroller instead of a child and asked Petway to leave, the suit says.

Petway tried to explain his son was inside but the officer “aggressively asked him to leave,” the suit says. The man “felt nervous and scared” for his child so he then called police from his cell phone, the suit claims.

Two more officers arrived, slammed his body onto a table, forced his hands behind his back and put him “in a deadly chokehold,” according to the lawsuit.

Chicago Heights officials could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The eight-count suit also names three Chicago Heights police officers as defendants, including one who it claims “has a practice of and a reputation for picking on and harassing homeless people,” the suit alleges.

Petway is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.