Chicago cop charged with beating man with baton at block party

- A Chicago police officer has been charged with beating an innocent man with his police baton during a block party.

Chicago police officer Brett Kahn left the criminal courts building Thursday after a bond hearing for charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct. The charges against the four year veteran of the department arise from an incident caught on cellphone video two years ago, in July.

Kahn and other officers had arrived at a block party in the 1500 block of south Christiana. Prosecutors say they were trying to disperse the crowd and write citations for drinking on the public way when Kahn went too far. The video appears to show Kahn hitting 32-year-old Jeremiah Smith in the head with his telescoped baton without justification.

“The victim did not attack, fight with the officer, display any weapons, or commit any other offenses prior to the defendant striking and arresting the victim,” said prosecutor Theresa Smith.

Jeremiah Smith and another alleged victim sued the police department for excessive force and settled the case in April for $100K.

“I think that what everyone is able to see on the video, that it makes it clear that a crime was committed and it wasn't committed by either one of my clients,” said plaintiff’s attorney Rahsaan Gordon.

Jeremiah Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge after spending 12 days in jail in connection with the incident, but when the video became public, prosecutors dismissed that case.

The officer's attorney, Will Fahy, described Kahn as a decorated Iraqi war veteran who has had a stellar reputation on the police force.

Regarding the incident, he said, "There's nothing excessive here."

After viewing the video, Judge Laura Sullivan set bond at $50K with Officer Kahn needing only to provide a signature for his release.

A spokesperson for the police department says Kahn was stripped of his police powers and placed on paid desk duty after the incident two years ago.

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