The city’s police department announced the development on Twitter on Friday night, one day after the 29-year-old suspect and the 32-year-old police officer were both taken to a hospital for evaluation following their confrontation, Chicago’s FOX 32 reported.
Police said the officer had performed an “emergency takedown” of the suspect in part because the suspect spat at the officer, striking him in the eye and mouth, the station reported. The suspect was also accused of licking an officer’s face and making verbal threats to police officers.
Officers were detaining the suspect for allegedly drinking alcohol in public, the report said.
Witnesses, however, claim the suspect “didn’t do anything aggressive.”
“He just stood there,” said Jovanna Alexiss Jamison, 22, who posted video of the incident on Facebook. She told FOX 32 that the suspect had been using his cell phone when police approached, grabbed his liquor bottle and tossed it away.
The video shows the officer lifting the suspect up and then flipping him to the ground, with the suspect’s head appearing to strike the curb.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES, GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
The suspect then seems to lie motionless, as if knocked unconscious. He was later reported to be in stable condition at University of Chicago Medical Center, but further information about his condition was unknown.
“This incident is under investigation as the actions in the video are concerning,” police department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement Thursday night. “If wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable.”
On Friday night, Guglielmi confirmed that the officer had been taken off duty, a common practice when police officers become involved in disputed incidents.
The case became the latest in a series of controversies involving the city’s police department, where the leadership is in transition following an announcement in early November that Superintendent Eddie Johnson will step down after three years in the top job. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by Charlie Beck, a longtime leader with the Los Angeles Police Department, until Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot names a permanent replacement.
The Chicago force has been rocked in recent months by cases such as the October 2018 conviction of white former Officer Jason Van Dyke in the October 2014 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Laquan McDonald, and questions arising from the department’s actions in the case of actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of reporting a false attack against him – charges that were later dropped — but is now suing the city, claiming malicious prosecution.