clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Lightfoot: Video of officer body-slamming man ‘very disturbing’

Officers said when the man spit in an officer’s eye and mouth, the officer performed an “emergency takedown.” The officer has been “relieved of police powers” pending review of the incident, a CPD spokesman said Friday.

An image taken from a cellphone video that was posted to social media Nov. 28, 2019, shows a Chicago police officer lift a man off his feet and slam him to the ground after he allegedly spit on the officer while being detained for drinking in public.
An image taken from a cellphone video that was posted to social media Nov. 28, 2019, shows a Chicago police officer lift a man off his feet and slam him to the ground after he allegedly spit on the officer while being detained for drinking in public.
Video screenshot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday decried a newly surfaced video that shows a Chicago Police Department officer body-slamming a man to the ground as “very disturbing.”

In a series of tweets, Lightfoot said she expects the investigation into the police use of force will be “comprehensive and expedited so that the public may gain a complete picture of what happened.”

“While a single video does not depict the entirety of the interactions between the police and the individual, this particular video is very disturbing,” the mayor tweeted.

The officer’s actions will be investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

In the meantime, the officer involved has been “relieved of police powers” and placed on desk duty at the request of COPA, Guglielmi said Friday. The officer will have no arrest or police powers, and can’t use or carry a gun as an officer while the investigation continues, according to Guglielmi.

“This incident is under investigation as the actions in the video are concerning,” Guglielmi had said in an earlier statement, issued Thursday night. “If wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable.”

The incident started shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday, when officers saw a 29-year-old man drinking alcohol at a bus stop in the 800 block of East 79th Street and approached him, according to police.

Police said the man became “irate” and licked the face of an officer and verbally threatened the officers. When the man spit in an officer’s eye and mouth, the officer performed an “emergency takedown,” police said.

The incident was acknowledged after a 41-second video showing the encounter was posted to social media.

The video does not show the initial interactions between the officers and the 29-year-old. The man can be seen being restrained against a police SUV before an officer picks him up and throws him to the ground, where he remained motionless as other officers gathered around him.

According to the CPD’s directives, a takedown is among the types of force that officers are authorized to use when dealing with “an active resister,” which the CPD says is “a person who attempts to create distance between himself or herself and the member’s reach with the intent to avoid physical control and/or defeat the arrest.”

The CPD defines a takedown as: “The act of directing a subject to the ground to limit physical resistance, prevent escape, or increase the potential for controlling the subject.” Police said charges were pending Friday against the 29-year-old.

Jovanna Alexiss Jamison, 22, witnessed the incident and recorded the video that was posted to Facebook.

The man “didn’t do anything aggressive, he just stood there,” Jamison said. “He was standing there using his cellphone. They took away his bottle of liquor and threw it.”

The man was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center by police, where he was stabilized, according to spokesmen for the CPD and the Chicago Fire Department.

The 32-year-old officer who was spit on was taken by ambulance to the same hospital for evaluation, officials said.