The Chicago Police Department is investigating after a video surfaced Thursday showing a police officer body-slamming an unidentified man onto the ground, CBS Chicago reported. The officer has been stripped of his police powers during the investigation, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
According to police, the incident occurred after officers in an unmarked vehicle approached a 29-year-old man drinking alcohol around 4 p.m. at a bus station in the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. Police said the man became angry at one of the officers, verbally threatened him, licked the officer’s face, and spat in his eyes and mouth.
“The specifics of what transpired prior to officers executing an emergency takedown will be scrutinized closely by us and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA),” Guglielmi said in a statement. “This incident is under investigation as the actions in the video are concerning. If wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable.”
The officer then performed what was described by police as an “emergency takedown.” The disturbing 43-second video shows the officer grab the man by his midsection and forcefully throw him to the ground. The man’s head appears to land on the curb.
“I was nervous. I was scared. I was hoping this young man was okay,” Jovonna Jamison, the 22-year-old bystander who recorded the video, told the Chicago Tribune. According to Jamison, the man was on the phone when the officer slammed him down.
“I’m not really surprised because it happens so much in Chicago, but I didn’t think I would ever see it front and center,” Jamison told the Tribune.
Police said the man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized Thursday night. The officer also went to an area hospital for evaluation, CBS Chicago reports.
Police were “conferring with prosecutors” Friday on whether to charge the man with aggravated battery of a police officer and drinking in the public way, Guglielmi told CBS News.
Justin Carissimo contributed to this report.