COPA finishes investigation into officer who allegedly choked arrestee in South Chicago

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced Wednesday they have finished their investigation into a use-of-force incident from May 2019 in which a Chicago police officer allegedly choked an arrestee who was handcuffed in the back of a police vehicle in South Chicago.

The male was arrested May 31, 2019, after officers saw him standing in the middle of the street and blocking traffic in the 8900 block of South Commercial Avenue, COPA said in a statement. A struggle ensued while he was being led to the squad car in handcuffs and ended when an officer allegedly choked him in the back seat.

A civilian complaint was never issued, but the Chicago Police Department notified COPA of the use-of-force over a month later, and COPA recommended that the officer be relieved of his police powers. On Dec. 31, 2020, COPA recommended that three other officers involved in the incident be stripped of their powers as well.

COPA’s full disciplinary recommendations cannot be made public until the Chicago Police Board has a chance to review them, according to spokesman Ephraim Eaddy. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office previously declined to file criminal charges against any of the officers, COPA said.

CPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.