CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Some Chicago Police officers have started a letter-writing campaign, in an effort to get the Federal Bureau of Prisons to move one of their own to a prison closer to home.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, Officer William Cozzi was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months in federal prison for beating a man who was handcuffed and shackled in a wheelchair.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Mike Krauser reports
Cozzi said he “lost it” when he beat Randle Miles in August 2005. Miles was at Norwegian-American Hospital waiting to be treated for a stabbing wound, and police said he was being combative.
Prosecutors said a videotape shows Cozzi hitting Miles about 10 times with a “sap,” or a bludgeon. Miles does not appear to resist, but he was charged with resisting arrest.
The beating was caught on surveillance video.
Cozzi initially served 18 months probation for the beating after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, and was set to return to work.
But then-newly-appointed police Supt. Jody Weis referred the case to federal prosecutors, and it became a federal civil rights case.
In the federal case, Cozzi was sentenced to 40 months in prison, and he is serving his sentence in Louisiana.
The Cozzi case was long a sore spot for rank-and-file officers who were critical of Weis and his administration. The officers concluded that Weis did not have their backs.
The Chicago Police blog Second City Cop is now urging officers to write to the Bureau of Prisons. The anonymous Second City Cop blogger says Cozzi, who has been imprisoned just over 19 months, has a clean conduct record and could be transferred to a prison closer to home.
But the Bureau of Prisons will not transfer Cozzi due to “overcrowding,” Second City Cop said.
“For some reason, this hasn’t stopped other inmates from receiving transfers though (imagine that),” the blog added.
The blog urges officers who write in to “as always, be polite and respectful,” since the officers are angry not at the Bureau of Prisons, but at Weis.