CHICAGO (CBS) – He was handcuffed up against a car and then slapped repeatedly by a Chicago police sergeant. Surveillance video captured the incident and led to criminal charges.
The alleged victim is talking publicly for the first time since charges were filed against the sergeant. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot sat down with Greg Jeffries.
Last October, Jeffries was arrested for trespassing at a South Side restaurant. The charges against the college freshman were later dismissed.
While being detained, he says Sgt. Edward Howard Jr. hit him four times.
“It was a slap hard enough to bust my lips and injure me,” Jeffries says.
Howard, 48, was among the officers responding at the scene. A restaurant surveillance camera was rolling, and after an investigation, he was charged last week with aggravated battery and official misconduct.
“It was surprising to me, you know, Chicago police treating citizens like this,” Jeffries says. “I didn’t even know what I was getting arrested for in the first place.”
The attorney for Howard, a 25-year veteran of the police department, had a different version of events when the sergeant appeared in court last week. He said Jeffries attempted to spit on the sergeant.
“Somebody’s attempting to spit on you, of course you have a right to defend yourself,” Robert Kuzas told reporters.
Jeffries denies the attorney’s claims. Jeffries’ lawyer says the video only reinforces her client’s claim.
“It forced the department to actually do something about it,” says Cindy Tsai of Loevy & Loevy, a firm well known for representing victims of police brutality. “The charges against the sergeant probably wouldn’t have happened if there was no video.”
Jeffries has filed a civil suit against the sergeant and officers for allegedly failing to intervene.
“It’s a good feeling this officer, this sergeant, was brought to justice,” Jeffries says.