"This Was Never About Whether Bill Cozzi Was Wrong That Day"

Former officer sentenced to 40 months in prison for beating man in wheelchair

By Zach Christman
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:44 PM CDT
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"This Was Never About Whether Bill Cozzi Was Wrong That Day"

Chicago Sun-Times / Scott Stewart

Chicago Police officer William Cozzi leaves Federal Court after he pleading guilty to beating a man in a wheelchair with his baton while the man was handcuffed.

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Former Chicago police Officer William Cozzi was sentenced to prison Thursday for beating a man who was handcuffed and shackled in a wheelchair.

Cozzi pleaded guilty in January and admitted that he "lost it" when he beat Randle Miles.  Cozzi had already served out 18 months probabation he received in state court for the incident and was preparing to return to work when the case was ramped up to a civil rights case after being turned over to federal prosecutors by newly-appointed police Supt. Jody Weis.

In court on Thursday, Cozzi was remorseful as he was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

"He was wrong.  He was wrong and he accepted blame.  This was never about whether Bill Cozzi was wrong that day," said defense attorney Terry Gillespe.  "He was a good police officer and the appropriate penalty was the misdemeanor probation with anger management.  I don't understand, for the life of me, why (he got) 40 months of incarceration."

The surveillance video from Norwegian American Hospital in Humboldt Park was damaging.  Miles was brought into the hospital emergency room four years ago to be treated for stab wounds.  Medical staff there called for police assistance and said Miles was combative.

Cozzi was one of the responding officers.  He put Miles in cuffs and shackles and repeatedly hit the man with a leather-weighted strap called a sap.

The police department and independent review board found Cozzi guilty of beating Miles and filing a false report.

Some officers, in light of Thursday's outcome, said they felt that the Weis didn't have their backs.

"That feeling has been there for a long time.  It's been brought before the press in the past.  I don't think there's anything that's changed to change that opinion," said Mark Donahue of the Fraternal Order of Police.  

 

Cop Beats Man in Wheelchair
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