Second cop involved in body slam incident stripped of police powers

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CHICAGO —  A second Chicago police officer was stripped of his police powers Wednesday for his involvement in body-slamming a man during an arrest last week.

Following a recommendation from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, new interim superintendent Charlie Beck agreed to relieve a second officer of his police powers pending the outcome of the investigation launched after a witness captured video of 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.

That officer was relieved of his police powers the day after the incident. The second officer placed Kersh in the squad car. Police said the officers drove him to the hospital after Kersh refused ambulance transport.

Kersh was previously convicted for spitting on an officer and punching an officer. His mother said he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The video sparked outrage. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called it “disturbing.”

Wednesday, the Fraternal Order of Police released a statement saying in part:

The decision to strip both these officers was wrong. While we join with the Mayor in calling for accountability and transparency, we believe such standards should apply to all city agencies dealing with crime and the police. We have no faith in the fairness of either COPA or the Chicago Police Board.

The FOP will defend both these officers with all their resources and energy.


Kersh is due back in court Thursday morning.



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