Charges dropped against Chicago cop caught on video punching hospital patient

Clauzell Gause had been charged with attacking a hospital patient in a 2014 incident.

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The Chicago Police Board voted Thursday to restore Officer Clauzell Gause to his position.

Charges were dropped in June against Clauzell Gause, who had been charged with official misconduct for allegedly attacking a hospital patient.

Sun-Times file photo

Chicago Police Officer Clauzell Gause found himself in front of a Cook County judge three years ago after video surfaced of a violent confrontation that allegedly appeared to show the officer beating a man at a South Side hospital.

“You and I and those who chose a life of public service, we’re held to a higher standard. That’s the long and short of it,” Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. told Gause at his May 2016 bond hearing. “Whatever happened, happened. … And you have to face the consequences.”

Three years and one month later, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped both felony official misconduct charges against Gause at a June 20 hearing, according to court records.

“The victim did not wish to proceed with the prosecution of this case and declined to cooperate,” a state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman wrote in a statement. “After a review of the evidence, we concluded that we could not meet our burden of proof and the case was dismissed.”

Prosecutors’ decision to drop the charges last month marked a swift end to an alleged police misconduct case that had captured the attention of a city already in turmoil. Gause, a veteran police officer, was charged seven months after video was made public of Laquan McDonald’s shooting death at the hands of Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was the one who charged Gause, and current top prosecutor Kim Foxx — who, as a candidate, was highly critical of Alvarez’s handling of cases involving police misconduct — was the one who dropped the charges.

The incident in question happened the night of June 3, 2014, when then-24-year-old Rayshon Gartley was involuntarily transported to Jackson Park Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Assistant State’s Attorney Theresa Smith said at Gause’s bond hearing that the officer was captured on hospital surveillance footage punching and shoving Gartley. Smith said Gartley first punched the officer while he was having his blood pressure taken, a point that was questioned in a lawsuit later filed by Gartley.

Gartley was restrained and handcuffed at the hospital at 7531 S. Stony Island, Smith said. Video captured in an observation room then showed Gause holding Gartley’s arms behind his back and shoving him against a wall, causing the patient to bounce back toward the officer.

Gause, who was in uniform, then appeared to punch Gartley in the face with a closed fist that landed Gartley on a bed, where Gause held him down with his right hand while he used his left hand to land a couple more punches, Smith said.

The federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Gartley the same month Gause was charged alleged Gartley’s civil rights were violated in the incident.

Gause and Gartley’s attorneys did not respond to phone calls Wednesday.

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