PARK RIDGE, Ill. — A bench trial is underway Monday for a Chicago police sergeant who pinned a teenager to the ground last year in Park Ridge.

Michael Vitellaro is charged with felony official misconduct and aggravated battery. 

Video of the incident captured the officer, who was off-duty at the time, with his knee on a 14-year-old’s back as the boy was lying facedown on the sidewalk in front of the Starbucks at 100 South Northwest Highway.

Nicole Nieves says her son, Josh, was moving what appeared to be an abandoned bike out of the way when the encounter occurred. The sergeant accused Josh of trying to steal that bike, which belonged to the officer’s son. Nieves said her son had his own bike with him.

On Monday, the teen took the stand.

Defense attorney James McKay played surveillance video from nearby businesses showing the events that led up to the incident and aftermath. McKay questioned the teen about his conversations with friends and family, pointing out that he was never separated from them before talking to the police. 

“Today was challenging for the family relieving the trauma that occurred on July 1,” McKay said. “It’s no small feat, especially for Josh, but the family remains hopeful that justice remains imminent.”

Vitellaro, a 22-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was relieved of his police powers. He had several supporters in court who said they believed he responded appropriately to what he thought was a theft in progress.

While on the stand, the teen testified that he feared for his life, adding that his family believes the attack was racially motivated.

Court resumes Tuesday at 10 a.m.