CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago Police Officer Aldo Brown says he's become the "fall guy" for police misconduct all over the country.
Brown was caught on tape using excessive force in a violent Southside neighborhood nicknamed "Terror Town."
Inside the Englewood barbershop that he's owned for 10 years, Officer Aldo Brown prayed with family and friends Monday morning. Then, he sat down with FOX 32 to discuss his conviction, his family and his future.
“Guess what? I got a gun off of him. A loaded handgun. That he was carrying illegally,” Brown said.
Brown still insists his punching and kicking of the convenience store clerk was a justifiable use of force. He is certain before the attack that he saw a gun in the victim's pants.
“Anybody in law enforcement should have been able to look at that tape and say hey, this guy had a gun, this officer's life is in danger, he had to do what he had to do,” Brown said.
Prosecutors and the jury disagreed and Brown was convicted of using excessive force. While defending his actions, he also told FOX 32 he was stressed out that day and had already been to the scene of a shooting involving a masked gunman.
“He shot somebody, they caught him running, ran away into a gangway with a ski mask on. So we were already under a lot of pressure that day,” Brown said.
Brown says he later found a YouTube video of his victim, rapping.
“I'm a cold killer, yah I'm cold blooded,” the victim said.
That left Brown even more convinced than ever that his brutality was justified. He believes his arrest and conviction sent the wrong message to other Chicago cops.
“I got a lot of friends and family members who are currently Chicago police officers. And they said, basically, we are not doing anything. I mean, why we go out here and risk our life, and we get into a jam, and the city of Chicago and the police department is not going to back us up. It doesn't make sense,” Brown said.
Prosecutors, however, say Brown's conviction sends exactly the right message. At sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Romero argued, "Sworn law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard of conduct, not merely because of the authority that they enjoy, but because society relies on their trustworthiness, their honor, and their integrity."
Judge Virginia Kendall told Brown, "You don't get a pass every few years because you work in Terror Town.”
Brown’s supporters say the judge doesn't appreciate what Chicago police are up against.
“He is an exemplary police officer. He is an exemplary person. I could not live on my block without an officer like him,” said community organizer Sharon Lewis.
Brown wife's is a police officer, and he has three children.
FOX 32: Have you had a talk with your kids and told them what's going on?
“Yes, I talked to 'em,” Brown said. “You know, I just told em daddy may have to go to jail. And they say, why? Aren't you the police?”
FOX 32 asked Brown whether he's a religious man, and he calls himself spiritual. He says the Lord never said there wouldn't be a storm in our lives, and there's a lesson behind everything.