Did Park Ridge Police Cover Up Teen Beatings By Lieutenant?
Jason Leavitt is a Park Ridge police lieutenant. He’s been a cop there for 16 years. But on Monday, Leavitt stood before a judge, charged with beating two teenagers four years ago. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
The indictment alleges that other officers saw it happen. And considering the beatings took place in October of 2006, reportedly with several officers as witnesses, it raises the question: was there a cover-up in the Park Ridge Police Department?
Cook County prosecutors say it started in a Park Ridge cemetery Halloween week, 2006. It ended today with Park Ridge Police Lieutenant Jason Leavitt’s indictment for aggravated battery and official misconduct.
“It’s a sad day for law enforcement when a member of law enforcement is charged criminally,” said Jack Blakey, Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say back in October 2006, two 15-year-old’s were in the cemetery, using a sling-shot to shoot at cars. They hit Leavitt’s personal car, breaking his rear window.
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The indictment alleges that Lieutenant Leavitt began chasing one of the teens, throwing something at his head, knocking him unconscious and then continued to beat him.
A short time later, after the second teen was handcuffed and lying on the ground, the indictment said Leavitt began kicking him in the head.
“He also beat one of the offenders while he was handcuffed in the car,” said Blakey. “The juvenile tried to escape the beating, moving to a different side of the car. And the officer, as alleged in court, went around to the other side of the vehicle to continue the beating.”
All of this allegedly happened in front of several other officers.
Leavitt bonded out but wasn’t home this afternoon. He’s been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.
When asked if the other officers at the scene tried to stop Leavitt or if there would be more arrests, Blakey would only say the investigation continues.
In a statement, Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski said, “…we are disappointed and appalled because allegations of abuse or other misconduct by officers threatens the relationship we have with those we serve.”
Kaminski says he’s been cooperating with investigators since being appointed last year.
Those at the State’s Attorney’s office say they didn’t begin their investigation until January 2009, almost two and a half years after the alleged attack.
Leavitt will be back in court on December 16th.