The man who was body slammed by a Chicago police officer during his arrest in late November walked out of jail Friday evening alongside his mother and Rev. Jesse Jackson after posting bond.
Bernard Kersh, 29, was charged with one felony count of aggravated battery, one count of resisting police, and one count of simple assault after the confrontation with authorities, according to police. The incident was was captured on video, and spread widely on social media.
Chicago police said that on Nov. 28, Kersh was seen drinking alcohol at a bus stop near the intersection of 79th Street and Cottage Grove. Officers began to write him a ticket for drinking in public, according to police, who said that when he was confronted, Kersh spat on an officer and licked his face.
Video of the arrest showed the officer then picking Kersh up and slamming him to the pavement before taking him into custody.
“We hope that the mayor sees this and says to rogue cops ‘your day is over,'”Jackson said Friday night. “We need good policemen to do jobs.”
Kersh is blind in one eye and suffers from schizophrenia, according to his family, who said he needs both mental health treatment as well as medical treatment from injuries he may have suffered during the arrest.
Outside of the Cook County Department of Correction, Kersh said he was doing better, and thanked those who have supported him including his mother and Jackson.
“I want to thank everybody for their prayers, and everybody that has something to do with me coming home tonight to my family,” he said.
Kersh’s mother, Keshia Johnson, was just glad her son was able to come home Friday night.
“Tonight, we go home [to] cook [a] hot meal,” she said. “He missed Thanksgiving dinner. That’s when this happened. So, just have family time tonight when we get home.”
At least two of the officers seen in the video were relieved of their police powers pending a full investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, according to police.
COPA recommended that two of the officers be relieved of their powers, a finding with which interim Supt. Charlie Beck concurred, relieving both, the department previously announced.