A brutal fight outside of a North Side bar has led to a lawsuit against an off-duty Chicago police sergeant.
A couple says that the sergeant and three other individuals attacked them last month, but charges haven’t been filed, and the couple believes that a “code of silence” within the Chicago Police Department is at play in the case.
Multiple police body camera videos and other pieces of evidence have been collected in the case, but charges have not been filed against the officer, who already has a history of complaints against him.
The couple, John Sherwood and his partner Tomasz Stacha, say the confrontation started at Andersonville’s Atmosphere Bar on the night of Sept. 29. The couple says that a group of people at the bar were doing shots and started throwing limes at them, and when they confronted the group, they were attacked.
44-year-old Chicago police officer Eric Elkins is one of the individuals accused by the couple of participating in the attack.
“He was in a fit of rage,” Sherwood said. “There were people trying to keep him from coming out. He came out, that’s when the attack started. I went into the fetal position, and they just continued to kick me.”
Both men were sent to the hospital with various injuries, including broken bones and serious bruises.
Videos obtained by the couple’s attorney show a suspect being taken into custody, and that suspect identifies Elkins as one of the participants in the alleged assault.
“They told the police that it was a CPD sergeant that was the instigator, and the police, as of 30 days later, have done nothing about it,” attorney Tim Cavanagh said.
According to the Invisible Institute’s Citizens Police Data project, Sgt. Elkins has had numerous complaints filed against him, although none ended in disciplinary action by the department. According to the Chicago Tribune, he pleaded guilty in 2016 to a misdemeanor battery charge on allegations that he assaulted a teen.
In a statement to NBC 5, Chicago police say that Elkins has been relieved of his duties pending both a criminal and administrative investigation by CPD, and that they take such allegations very seriously.
NBC 5 was unable to reach Elkins for comment.