DIXMOOR, Ill. (CBS) — A police commander in Dixmoor stood charged Wednesday with dragging and beating a 66-year-old woman at the south suburb’s own police station this past fall.
Cmdr. Ronald Burge Jr. is charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.
But the chief of police in Dixmoor claimed the charges against the commander – who happens to be his son – were “political” in nature rather than criminal. The chief accused the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office of misrepresenting what really happened.
A bond proffer issued by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said around 12:20 p.m. Oct. 5, Cmdr. Burge Jr. encountered a family that had come to discuss the arrest of a juvenile defendant. The boy’s grandmother were taking photos with a cellphone, prosecutors claimed.
Burge Jr. first demanded the boy’s father hand over his phone. When the man refused, Burge took him into custody through the doorway toward the lockup area of the police station, prosecutors claimed.
The grandmother followed after the men and tried to take more photos on her cellphone, and Burge also demanded that she surrender her phone, the proffer said. The woman refused and ran out of the police station, prosecutors claimed.
Burge Jr. chased the woman as she ran across the street into the parking lot, grabbed her, and held her with one hand across her chest and neck while holding his gun in the other hand, the proffer claimed.
Burge Jr. then dragged the woman back to the police station – sometimes with her feet dangling from the ground, prosecutors claimed. The proffer said Burge Jr. stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and is at least 231 pounds, while the woman is only 5 feet 3 inches tall and 127 pounds.
Prosecutors claimed that after entering through the back door of the police station, Burge Jr. entered the still had his arm around the victim’s neck and handed his gun to a Dixmoor employee. He then purposefully slammed the woman’s face into the back hallway three times, and then violently shoved her face into a counter “despite her compliance and lack of resistance,” prosecutors claimed.
The woman was placed into a holding area where she remained more than 11 hours, before she was charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer, prosecutors said. She was not allowed to post bond at the station, and instead spent the night at the Dixmoor lockup before being taken to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue for a bond hearing, prosecutors alleged.
At that point, the woman was released on an I-bond, prosecutors alleged. She suffered an abrasion to her mount and was treated for pain to her left elbow and neck, prosecutors alleged.
The prosecution later dismissed charges against the woman, and on Tuesday, a warrant was issued for Burge Jr.’s arrest. Burge surrendered on Wednesday and was arrested by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.
Surveillance cameras at the Dixmoor Police Department captured the incident, prosecutors alleged.
But on Wednesday evening, Dixmoor Police Chief Ronald Burge Sr. argued that the State’s Attorney’s office was “not truthful with what happened.”
What really happened, Burge Sr. said, was that on that day in October, Dixmoor police were called for a fight between about seven or eight family members that had spilled from a house onto the streets.
“Those same individuals attacked two of my police officers, busted their lips,” Burge Sr. said.
Multiple family members were brought to the police station and one was charged, Burge Sr. said. As to the grandmother whom Burge Jr. is accused of beating, Burge Sr. said she was not charged initially, but had come to the station and was “very belligerent.”
Burge Sr. said the sergeant at the station contacted the on-duty commander, who happened to be his son.
The sergeant told Burge Jr., “We have a situation here that’s getting out of control,” and Burge Jr. came in on his day off and talked for about 45 minutes with the family that had been fighting, Burge Sr. said.
Burge Sr. said the family had already fought each other, and had attacked police officers, “and now they’re at the station causing a ruckus.”
Burge Jr. then turned around to come in the back door of the police station – which is a restricted area that is not accessible to the public, Burge Sr. said.
“As he entered the station, she grabbed the door… attempted to enter the station. He turned around and stated: ‘What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be in here. You’re under arrest,’” Burge Sr. said. “When he proceeded to turn around, she ran out of the station. He followed her. Her family members followed him. The officers in the station realized there was something going on, and they ended up across the street in the parking lot.”
Burge Sr. said the woman “grabbed (Burge Jr.) in his private parts and refused to let go.
“At that point, he picked her up, because at that level, she’s causing damage,” Burge Sr. said. He said Burge Jr. did have his gun out because the other family members were coming after him.
The woman was brought into the station and hit her head against the wall in the process, Burge Sr. said.
Burge Sr. took issue with the State’s Attorney’s office – saying the office had not only misrepresented what actually happened, but had dismissed all of the pending cases in which Cmdr. Burge Jr. was involved – some of which the department needed the commander to testify in.
Burge Sr. also said the State’s Attorney’s office did not tell police they dismissed the pending cases.
Burge Sr. further said he was very proud that the commander was his son, and said he would have no tolerance if he believed his son had actually done something wrong.
“I have a serious issue with the State’s Attorney’s Office, especially when it comes to first responders,” Burge Sr. said. “You cannot make the victims the suspects, and you cannot make the suspects the victims. We have to all obey the law, and we have to all do what is right.”