CHICAGO - A man was hospitalized after being slammed to the ground by police Thursday in Chatham when he allegedly spit on an officer while being detained for drinking alcohol in public.
The incident was caught on video and posted to social media. Graphic language was used in the video.
About 3:58 p.m., officers saw the 29-year-old drinking alcohol at a bus stop in the 800 block of East 79th Street and approached him, according to Chicago police.
Police said the man became “irate” and licked the face of an officer and made verbal threats toward the officers, police said. When the man spit in an officer’s eye and mouth, the officer performed an “emergency takedown,” according to police.
A 41-second video of the incident that was posted to social media appeared to show the man facing a police SUV with an officer standing behind him when the officer picks him up off his feet and throws him to the ground. The man appears to lie motionless in the street as other officers gather around him.
Jovanna Alexiss Jamison, 22, witnessed the incident and recorded the video that was posted to Facebook.
The man “didn’t do anything aggressive, he just stood there,” according to Jamison. “He was standing there using his cellphone. They took away his bottle of liquor and threw it.”
The man was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center by police, where he was stabilized, according to spokesmen for CPD and the Chicago Fire Department.
The 32-year-old officer who was spit on was taken by ambulance to the same hospital for evaluation, officials said.
The officer’s use of the emergency takedown maneuver will be investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
“This incident is under investigation as the actions in the video are concerning,” Guglielmi said in a statement Thursday night. “If wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot weighed in on the video Friday morning, saying in a tweet that she found the video “very disturbing.”
On Friday night, Guglielmi announced on Twitter that the officer involved in the incident has been relieved of his police powers, pending COPA's review.
Police said charges were pending against the 29-year-old.