Charges have been dropped against a 28-year-old man whose attorney said he was punched multiple times in the head by a Chicago police officer while he was handcuffed.
Video of the incident appears to show the officer tackling and then repeatedly striking Sterlin Boston during an arrest in West Garfield Park on June 12.
The officer’s actions during the arrest are also the subject of an investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
During a hearing Friday, Cook County prosecutors said they were dropping the charges against Boston, but did not provide additional information in court about the decision.
“After a thorough review of all the available evidence, including additional reports and video provided to us by investigators after the case was initially charged, we are unable to meet our burden of proof and move forward with prosecution of this case,” a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office said in an emailed statement.
Boston’s defense attorney, David Gaeger, commended State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for her office’s decision to drop the charges, which included a misdemeanor count of gambling, as well as a felony counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance.
“Dismissing this case today after watching the video evidence was the right thing,” Gaeger said after the hearing.
Gaeger said the case could have gone differently if video of the arrest did not exist.
Breaking: COPA is investigating a Chicago Police officer for the arrest of Sterlin Boston on Friday night.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) June 14, 2020
This video, obtained by the Sun-Times, shows the officer repeatedly punching Boston, his attorney says. Boston was arrested for “gambling on the sidewalk,” per CPD. pic.twitter.com/p4Z84eziJ8
Before Boston was arrested, police were investigating a tip of a person with a gun when they came into contact with him on Keeler Avenue. Although Boston did not match the description of the person with the gun, the officers observed him “gambling on the sidewalk” and took him into custody, prosecutors said at Boston’s bond hearing last weekend.
After handcuffing Boston, a small crowd formed, which soon led to shoving between the crowd and the officers, the video shows.
As an officer holding Boston shoved a person in the crowd, Boston is seen falling forward onto the parkway, at which time the officer gets on top of Boston and appears to strike him multiple times with a closed fist.
“They’re beating him,” someone in the crowd can be heard yelling.
Last week, prosecutors described Boston as kicking the officer “three times in the shin.”
Gaeger said those were “phantom kicks” and said the video never showed Boston kicking.
“This officer swore in a report under the penalty of perjury things that happened that did not,” Gaeger said Friday.
Boston is currently awaiting trial in a separate weapons-related case from last year, court records show. He was released on bond in that case in February.