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Man thrown to the ground by police during arrest released from jail on bond

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CHICAGO — A Chicago man who was thrown to the ground by police on Thanksgiving was released from the Cook County jail Friday after Rev Jesse Jackson bonded him out.

Witness video captured Bernard Kersh being slammed to the ground on Thanksgiving Day at 79th Street and Cottage Grove.

Officers approached the 29-year-old because he was drinking alcohol at a bus stop.

Police say he licked an officer’s face, verbally threatened him and spit on him. This prompted the emergency takedown maneuver.

Police said the officers drove him to the hospital after Kersh refused ambulance transport.

Friday, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. along with Kersh’s mother Keisha Johnson arrived at the Cook County Jail after the Illinois Department of Corrections withdrew its hold on Kresh’s parole. He was able to make bail and was released.

“I wanted to thank the reverend,” Kersh said. “I wanted to thank my attorney, my mom and I wanted to thank everybody for their prayers and everyone who had something to do with me coming home tonight to my family.”

Jackson has been calling on the mayor to make an example of this case and repeated that call again Friday. He said the city needs good police officers who serve the public, but this case is a prime example of cops gone rogue.

“The biggest issue here, he is a legal schizophrenic, a medical condition,” Jackson said. “He’s blind in one eye. A one eyes man who is mentally challenged was thrown into the sidewalk with no regard for his life. He lay on the ground for some time, out of it.”

Kersh’s family said they are still evaluating the extent of his injuries.

“I’m going to cook him a hot meal,” Johnson said. “He missed Thanksgiving dinner.”

The Chicago police arrest database shows Kersh has been arrested nearly 30 times in the last five years. The officers involved in this incident have been relieved of their police powers.


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