A Chicago Police sergeant was convicted Thursday night of hitting a handcuffed suspect who was following police orders after being stopped outside a South Side restaurant.
Edward Howard Jr., 48, was convicted of aggravated battery and official misconduct following a bench trial before Cook County Judge James Clayton Crane, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
Howard struck a handcuffed 19-year-old man across the face three times with an open hand about 10:15 p.m. Oct. 11, 2010, in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes Ave., the state's attorney's office said.
Prosecutors used a videotape from the restaurant and witness statements during the trial.
"We recognize that police officers have difficult jobs and work under very challenging circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this officer's senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement.
The man and his two friends had been arrested for criminal trespassing after walking out of the restaurant, the state's attorney's office said. The man complied with police orders and walked to the police car and placed his hands on the vehicle.
Officers handcuffed the man behind his back and searched him, police said. Howard then struck the man, the last time hard enough to knock him off balance. The man suffered cuts, bruises, swelling to the lips and redness and swelling of the face, the release said.
He was then taken to the Gresham District police station and released a few hours later, according to the state's attorney's office. The incident was reported to the Independent Police Review Authority, which later contacted the state's attorney's office.
Howard faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced next month.