A video that went viral on social media Wednesday shows Harvey cops arresting a PACE security guard who “sucker punched” a handcuffed man standing on the street, officials allege.
More than 2 million people have viewed a Twitter post of the video, fueling speculation about the incident.
On Wednesday, Harvey Police Chief Robert Collins said the security guard was Robert Undraitis, 60, of Calumet City.
On Saturday, Undraitis was working for a security company that contracts with the PACE suburban bus system, Collins said.
Jeremiah Nesbitt, 30, of Chicago Heights, struck Undraitis in the face near the PACE terminal at 154th Street and Park Avenue, Collins said. He said Undraitis chased down Nesbitt.
A cell-phone video recorded by a woman at the scene shows Harvey police officers arresting Nesbitt.
Collins said a Harvey officer who knelt on Nesbitt’s back during that arrest didn’t violate Harvey’s police policies because it was a “temporary control tactic” and didn’t involve a choke hold or pressure on Nesbitt’s neck.
Earlier this year, Harvey officials said they’d banned choke holds. The announcement followed George Floyd’s death in May in Minneapolis after an officer put a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Collins said that after Nesbitt was handcuffed and stood up, Undraitis “sucker punched” him. Undraitis is charged with battery and illegal possession of a gun. Harvey police confiscated his 9mm handgun because he didn’t have a valid state firearm owner’s identification card, Collins said.
Nesbitt is charged with battery. He and Undraitis were released on bail, court records show. Neither man could be reached for comment nor could a spokesperson for PACE.
Collins became the Harvey police chief in January and said he’s trying to end the south suburban town’s reputation for lawlessness.
“We wanted to change the narrative. No excessive force,” said Collins, who previously worked in Bellwood and Dolton.
Collins praised the officer who ordered the arrest of Undraitis, noting many police officers work off-duty security jobs and his Harvey officer didn’t know if Undraitis was a moonlighting cop.
“This was a uniformed person and that officer took action immediately,” Collins said. “I am very pleased that he took action.”