Officials: Man questioned in robbery, beating of off-duty officer released
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A man who turned himself in to police in south suburban Harvey on Saturday in connection with the beating and robbery of an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant was released Sunday without charges, officials said.
Brian Williams, 21, showed up at the Harvey police department to give his side of the story and said that the police officer provoked the fight by using a racial slur, people familiar with the incident said. He was later taken into custody by Chicago cops and released Sunday afternoon, according to Harvey spokesman Sean Howard.
Williams entered an elevator with his wife, 2-year-old daughter and three black men, all of whom were his friends, said Pastor Ray Berryhill of the Resurrected Life Church International, who was present with Williams and his attorney when he showed up at the Harvey police station.
According to Williams’ account, the sergeant said “we got the all n***** elevator,” Berryhill said. “That is what caused the attack. The officer provoked the fight.”
A fight ensued and the officer was on his back and reached for his revolver, Berryhill said. Williams said he took the weapon from the officer because it was pointed at his daughter, according to Berryhill.
Chicago Police could not immediately confirm Williams’ release.
Williams acknowledged he was present during the incident but denied being involved in the attack on the off-duty sergeant.
“I believe justice was served,” Berryhill said after Williams was released. “I believe that his testimony was credible and I heard him say it several times.”
Berryhill said that he does not know Williams personally, but was brought in as an “intermediator.”
“Even though I didn’t know him, in my opinion, he did the right thing,” Berryhill said. “Today, he is a free man and I am grateful for that.”
On Friday, police released surveillance images of the group of men suspected of seriously injuring the sergeant in the attack that happened about 3 p.m. Thursday.
The officer was walking to his personal vehicle on the 12th floor of a parking garage in the 100 block of West Madison when between six and 10 people walked up, repeatedly hit him, and stole his belongings, police said.
At least two males from the group hit the sergeant in the head, face and body, causing him to fall to the ground, according to a police source.
The robbers also took the officer’s service weapon before driving off, a police source said. Two men who shared the elevator to the 12th floor with the officer came to his aid before authorities arrived.
He was taken in serious condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and is expected to recover, police said.
Police consider the suspects to be armed and dangerous, according to a community alert from Area Central detectives.
Anyone with information on the attack should call detectives at (312) 747-8380.