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Man body slammed by cop gets $100K bail for latest charges

Bernard Kersh initially was ordered held without bond after shoving a store manager as he tried to walk off with a bottle of tequila and a pink bouquet.

Bernard Kersh stands beside the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. to address reporters as he left the Cook County Jail in December following his arrest for allegedly spitting on a Chicago Police officer, who then body slammed the 29-year-old, who has a history of mental illness.
Bernard Kersh stands beside the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. to address reporters as he left the Cook County Jail in December following his arrest for allegedly spitting on a Chicago Police officer, who then body slammed the 29-year-old, who has a history of mental illness.
Andy Grimm | Chicago Sun-Times

A schizophrenic man body-slammed by a Chicago police officer late last year was given a $100,000 bail Monday on charges stemming from his latest arrest for allegedly shoving a security guard while trying to make off with a bottle of tequila and a bouquet of flowers from a South Loop supermarket.

Bernard Kersh had walked out of Cook County Jail in December alongside his mother and the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., who had posted Kersh’s $500 bond following his Thanksgiving Day arrest for allegedly spitting on a Chicago Police officer, who responded by body-slamming Kersh to the sidewalk with an MMA-style takedown.

Kersh had spent a week in jail because of a parole hold from a previous case.

The officer and another who responded have since been stripped of their police powers as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the use of force.

Kersh was sent back to jail last month following his arrest on aggravated battery and retail theft charges tied to the alleged incident at the South Loop Jewel-Osco. The arrest violated conditions of Kersh’s bond for his November arrest involving the police officer, and he has been held in jail under a no-bail order since.

Kersh will now need to post $10,000 to go free, and will have to continue treatment for mental health issues and remain on house arrest if manages to raise the money, Cook County Judge Erica Reddick said at Monday’s hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Reddick seemed unacquainted with the details of Kersh’s Thanksgiving arrest, which got national attention thanks to video of Kersh being tossed to the ground, after he allegedly tried to lick and spit on the officer.

“He tried to lick the officer?” Reddick asked a prosecutor Monday.

Reddick cited a history of violent offenses and failure to attend court dates as reasons she set a bond she knew would be difficult for Kersh — who is unemployed — to pay. But the judge said she did not want Kersh to endure the “stigma” of being held without bail.