Police Sergeant Charged With Hitting Handcuffed Man

UPDATED 04/15/11 4:33 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police sergeant is facing felony charges, after he was allegedly captured on video slapping a handcuffed man three times in the face.

Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, a 25-year veteran of the Chicago Police force, was appeared in bond court Friday on charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Howard turned himself in to police earlier Friday.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, his bond was set at $20,000.

Howard, the father of three, said nothing as he let court Friday afternoon.

But his attorney, Robert Kuzas said, “This is truly a tragedy for him. This is not at all reflective of the type of human being he is, or the type of man he is, or the type of police officer he is.”

Prosecutors say at 10:15 p.m. Oct. 11 of last year, a 19-year-old man and two friends were arrested by police for criminal trespass to land after walking out of a restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes Ave.

The man complied with the officers’ orders as the officers handcuffed and searched him, prosecutors said. But when Howard arrived, he hit the man three times across the face with an open hand as several officers watched, prosecutors said.

The last time Howard hit the man, he fell backward and off balance against the police squad car, prosecutors said. The incident was captured by surveillance cameras outside the restaurant.

In court Friday, prosecutors said the slaps were unprovoked, but Kuzas disagreed.

“The prosecution is presenting the facts with a real soft eye to their position,” Kuzas said. “When you look at the facts of this case and you look at what actually occurred … no this isn’t an unprovoked action.”

Kuzas said Sgt. Howard was actually acting in self defense when he hit 19-year-old.

“He attempted to spit on Sgt. Howard, and that was the reason for the strikes,” Kuzas said. He also said he believes his client was justified, even if the alleged victim was handcuffed.

“My hands are folded in front of me, if I tried to spit on you, wouldn’t you find that offensive?” Kuzas said.

He said he believes the victim’s alleged attempt to spit on Howard justified the officer striking the young man, regardless of whether or not Howard is a police officer.

“I don’t care who you are,” Kuzas said. “Somebody’s attempting to spit on you? Of course you have a right to defend yourself.”

The man Howard allegedly hit suffered cuts, bruises, and swelling to his upper and lower lips and face, prosecutors said.

After the incident, Howard was taken to the Gresham District police station, 7808 S. Halsted St., for processing and released several hours later, prosecutors said.

The following day, the man and his mother filed complaints with the Independent Police Review Authority, who later referred the case to the State’s Attorney’s office, prosecutors said.

Videotape from the fast food restaurant’s surveillance camera and several eyewitness accounts confirm that Howard hit the man while he was handcuffed, prosecutors said.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Interim Police Supt. Terry Hillard said:

“The Chicago Police Department has clear, unwavering expectations of professionalism and integrity from all of its members. Supervisors must be a guiding example of character and conduct, and failure to demonstrate leadership is inexcusable in any circumstance. The Department is committed to accountability at every level to ensure honorable police service that strengthens trust in the community. Everyday, an overwhelming majority of officers exhibit the highest standards of excellence in the face of incredible conditions, and uphold the core values that are characteristic of the Chicago Police Department.”

In a news release, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed disappointment.

“It is a sad and difficult day for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted,” Alvarez said in a news release. “We recognize that police officers have difficult jobs and work under challenging circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this officer’s senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust.”

News of the incident first came last fall, shortly after it happened, when then-police Supt. Jody Weis suspended a then-unnamed sergeant and six officers of their police powers.

A source close to the officers said at the time that the suspect had tried to spit on the sergeant, who “moved” the suspect’s face to avoid getting hit with saliva.

But Mayor Richard M. Daley at the time responded to the allegations, “That’s unacceptable conduct. That’s unacceptable here or anyplace else. . . . I’m glad the superintendent did what is necessary.”

Two officers were later reinstated and cleared of wrongdoing in the incident when evidence revealed they were not at the scene at the time of the incident. They have filed a lawsuit accusing Weis of slander.

The officers, Lynn Meuris and Jason Vanna, filed a lawsuit seeking $300,000 from the Police Department, claiming they were defamed, and their reputations were wrongfully tarnished.

Even though the officers were reinstated once evidence showed they weren’t involved, their attorney said the damage was done.

Weis left the Police Department last month when his contract ended. Interim police Supt. Terry Hillard took his place.



    • Nancy

      The cops deny everything till this day.

  • Joe G

    Here we have another Chicago’s finest coward with a gun and badge

  • CECE

    thats only was pigs feel superior, when then can slap u around, and can only do so, if ur cuffed!!!!!

    • Your 7th Grade English Teacher

      Remedial English lessons are on your horizon CECE

      • Alice

        That’s hilarious, HaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!!

  • Tim

    This has been going on for a LONG time with the Chicago Police force and the question is……when will it ever stop and how immature by the Srgt. he should be fired.

  • a

    Why is this aggravated battery?

  • Jerry O Henderson

    Gery Lear,It;s low lifes like you that usually get accepted on the police force.You probadly got your A## kicked growing up ,now if you only had gun.

  • Gary Lear

    the frist thing you need do is go back to school and learn how to read and spell. But you are the class of person i expected to reply.

  • Gary Lear

    I see it. didn’t spell first correct. thats what i get for trying lower myself to the lowest level so i can communicate with people like you. Let me guess that was your brother. should of been out looking for a job.

  • Chivi

    To everyone out there, anytime a copy stops you or stops someone else, let the cameras roll. Judges used to think cops walked on water. “My kids don’t lie!! My kids always tell the truth!!” Now who should you believe. THE CAMERA!!!

  • smart enough to be a yuppie

    Chicago cops are pure evil I am glad we are hiring more of the mentally disabled to patrol us. WHy doesn’t the fbi or the state look into this? I’m young nd white with a grad school degree, and I still got smacked around in this city. Cannot wait to move to california where the police actually protect and serve.

    They are also so rude I tried to do a police report when I was mugged at KNIFE POINT! I stopped a patrol car, who told me to go to police station Which I did!

    I happen to be young and they just let me have it, they told me I shouldn’t be walking around at night. Basically refused to take my statement and insulted me telling me NOT TO BE STUPID! enough to walk around at night. But my job requires night dinners…. anyhow it’s our fault according to the police when we get mugged, so it’s only fair they have a right to abuse the people right? RIGHT? Or should we just fire the whole force and call in the FBI to help regulate. Seriously these guys are murderers and wife beaters with guns. It’s dropping down our property value.

  • Gary Lear

    lesion j- o i really don’t think the cop should of hit him. but still i could see it happening if he was truely spit on, or at. that really is a nasty thing to do to anyone. i apolgize for my commit. i have never been spit on. but i have seen people do this. i will never foreget the look on the persons faces when they were spit on. sounds sort of nuts. i guess.

  • vicp

    why was he even detained in the first place? how does walking out of a restaurant constitute criminal trespass to land? good thing there were at least 7 cops there to beat him for committing such a heinous act!!! had it been a murder or any other real crime, you couldn’t have found 7 cops within a 10 mile radius.unless of course there happened to be a donut shop in that 10 miles!!!

  • jaycee

    You `re allways printing how bad the police do their job i don`t see any stories on TV JESSE SEX CASE or MAYOR DALEY NEPHEW incident were the victim died what happen to JAY and PAM your top crime reporters the stories to hot for CBS to handle

  • Watching2011

    Nothing new. Bunch of bad as* cops with a badge beating handcuffed citizens. Are you really surprised?

  • Rich F

    Even though it was wrong, The kid was probably a punk and most likely deserved it…he barely touched him…I think this will get pled down to simple battery. And for all you CPD harters…suck it!

  • Marianna

    Felony charges are bound to have time in jail for slapping a prisoner in the street. What is the matter with this cops that can not hold their temper and refrain themselves from hitting someone. It hurts real bad when you hit somebody. We all wonder what kind of education this cops are getting?
    And the 25 YEARS of experiience not do anything to him.. May be they need to have a psychological representation of his personality and what led to hitting someone in the face.
    Is he mariied? We wonder how his wife is feeling about this.

  • vicp

    sentence him to ONE HOUR in prison(stateville-general population) oh yeah let all the inmates know he’s a cop,& what he did! bet mr. tough guy seargent doesn’t survive 10 minutes.


    YAWWWWWN. a street punk gets straitened out,and all like him come out of the woodwork..YAWWWWWWN.

    • a

      Well said…that should be the end of this discussion…..half of which I can’t read anyway because of the grammar.

    • NWA

      No, the big fat and black po po is the punk in this case.


  • NWA

    Well, let me put it like this. Had that been my nineteen year old, I would have stretched that po po out nice and pretty for all to see. In other words, I don’t f’around.



    nwa,Pull up your pants.Their hanging by the ground.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/04/18/brutality-victim-this-sergeant-was-brought-to-justice/ Brutality Victim Glad ‘Sergeant Was Brought To Justice’ « Brutality Victim Glad ‘Sergeant Was Brought To Justice’ « CBS Chicago

    […] CHICAGO (CBS) – He was handcuffed up against a car and then slapped repeatedly by a Chicago police sergeant, but surveillance video captured the incident and led to criminal charges against the officer. […]

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