Former CPD officer who was accused of attacking, threatening other cops to join CFD next week
Jason Coleman’s career with the Chicago Police Department ended when he resigned in July 2020, less than two months after he was involved in a skirmish with on-duty officers near his West Englewood home. He’s set to graduate from the Chicago Fire Department academy on Feb. 16.
A former Chicago police officer who was accused of attacking and threatening several of his colleagues in West Englewood last year avoided punishment when those officers refused to sign complaints against him.
And now, the former officer is in line to join the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department next week.
Jason Coleman’s career with the Chicago Police Department ended when he resigned in July 2020, less than two months after he was involved in a skirmish with on-duty officers near his West Englewood home.
According to the Fire Department, Coleman passed a background check and was offered a position in the fire academy before he resigned from the Police Department.
Coleman joined the July 2020 fire academy class after a vacancy opened, though the class was already more than two weeks into its emergency medical technician training. Coleman was allowed to join the class late because he was already a licensed EMT, according to a source familiar with the academy class.
CFD spokesman Larry Langford said Coleman will graduate from the fire academy and will be assigned to the field on Feb. 16.
Less than a year earlier, detectives in the CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs raised the prospect of bringing criminal charges against Coleman, who joined the Police Department in 2013. Coleman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
According to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, CPD officers were sent to the 5600 block of South Loomis shortly before 7 p.m. on May 14, 2020, after a gunshot detection device alerted dispatchers to gunfire in the area. Upon their arrival, four uniformed CPD officers noticed Coleman leaning against a vehicle parked in a vacant lot, the spot where the gunfire was detected.
The officers asked Coleman if he heard any shots, if he had a weapon on his person and if he had a concealed carry license. Coleman replied, “Nah” to each question. One of the officers then asked Coleman if he could perform a patdown on him.
“Nah, I’m not going to do that ’cause you have no right,” Coleman replied, according to the officers’ incident report.
One of the officers asked Coleman about a bulge in his waistband, and Coleman responded that it was “nothing for you,” according to the officers’ report.
Coleman was patted down, and the officers found a semiautomatic pistol, according to police records. Two of the officers tried to put Coleman into handcuffs, but he allegedly resisted. As the officers struggled to put him in custody, one of them noticed that a CPD badge holder had fallen to the ground. One of the officers picked it up and saw that it was Coleman’s CPD badge.
Meanwhile, the other three continued their efforts to detain him. One tried to perform an emergency takedown, but Coleman allegedly struck the officer in the face, according to records.
The officer who found Coleman’s badge “informed the on-scene officers that Coleman was a Chicago police officer. The arresting officers then stepped away from Coleman. Coleman stated to the officers, ‘I’m gonna beat your ass,’” before allegedly shoving one of the officers into a chain-link fence, according to the incident report.
A supervisor in the Englewood District arrived, and Coleman remained “argumentative and irate,” the officers wrote. Two of them said they could smell alcohol emanating from Coleman, who was taken to the Englewood District station.
The next day, detectives from the CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs contacted the four officers who tried to arrest Coleman. The detectives told them that “there was enough evidence” to charge Coleman with aggravated battery to a police officer, as well as resisting and obstructing a police officer.
None of the four officers, though, signed a felony or misdemeanor complaint against Coleman. All said they preferred the incident to be handled administratively. One of the officers told the detectives that he “did not want the stigma of having another officer arrested.”
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file CPD officers, said the four cops who tried to arrest Coleman were themselves stripped of their police powers and assigned to administrative duty for a month for refusing to sign complaints.
“They didn’t know what to do. They were all young kids. So, they refused to sign a complaint,” Catanzara said. “We fought like hell to get them reinstated. It was ridiculous what they did to these four coppers. And even the former commander there will tell you. These coppers were some of the hardest-working policemen he had in his district, and they totally jammed them up because of this guy. And now he’s working for the Fire Department and taken care of.”
Contributing: Fran Spielman