CHICAGO (CBS) — The man who was body-slammed by a Chicago Police officer after he spit in the officer’s face was freed from Cook County Jail on Friday night.
Bernard Kersh bonded out of the Cook Co jail.
Rev. Jesse Jackson put up the $5,000 bond ($500)
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) December 7, 2019
The Rev. Jesse Jackson posted bond for Bernard Kersh, and the two walked out of the jail complex at 26th and California. Jackson said Kersh will stay with his mother and go for treatment on Monday.
“I want to thank the reverend, I want to thank my attorney and my mom,” Kersh said. “I want to thank anybody who had something to do with me coming home to my family.”
Officer Jerald Williams slammed 29-year-old Bernard Kersh in the 700 block of East 79th Street around 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The video shows the man’s head slamming against the curb, and he doesn’t move for the rest of the 40-second video.
Kersh “is blind in one eye, a one-eyed man who is schizophrenic … who was thrown to the sidewalk with no regard for his life,” Jackson said.
Police said officers stopped Kersh to give him a ticket when they saw him drinking alcohol in plain view at a bus stop. That’s when they said he resisted arrest, and spat at and licked an officer’s face.
The police department called the incident an “emergency takedown.”
The new charges were a potential violation of Kersh’s probation from a previous case— making him ineligible for bond—until the Department of Illinois Corrections changed course Friday.
Kersh was charged with one felony count of aggravated battery, one misdemeanor account of resisting police and one misdemeanor count of simple assault. He was also cited for drinking alcohol in public. He was taken to the University of Chicago medical Center.
The family’s attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, said Kersh suffers from mental health issues, including schizophrenia.
Keshia Johnson, Kersh’s mother, agrees and said she believes the officer’s actions were “totally excessive.”
“It was extreme, what he did. He could have killed my son,” Johnson said. Tonight, mom said, she was going to cook her son a hot meal and spend time with family. “He missed Thanksgiving dinner.”
Rev. Jackson said Kersh will stay with his mother and go for treatment on Monday for severe headaches.
Williams and another officer have been stripped of their police powers as this investigation plays out.