A second Chicago police officer has been relieved of his police powers pending a review of a social media video that showed a man being thrown to the ground by another officer.
According to a Chicago police spokesman, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended that the second officer be relieved of his police powers pending the investigation, and Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck and concurred with the office’s request.
On Thursday, social media video emerged of an incident near the intersection of 79th and Cottage Grove. In the video, officers are seen confronting a man who then allegedly spat upon, and licked the face of, one of the officers involved.
The video shows an officer then picking the man up and slamming him to the ground before taking him into custody.
At least two of the officers seen in the video have now been relieved of their police powers pending a full COPA investigation, according to the Chicago police department.
The man seen in the video, identified as 29-year-old Bernard Kersh, is facing charges of felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor charges of resisting police and simple assault after the incident, and remains in jail.
Police say that Kersh was seen drinking alcohol at a bus stop, and when officers attempted to write him a ticket for drinking in public, he spat on an officer and licked his face.
Bond was set for $5,000 in the case, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition attempted to post bond for Kersh on Monday. They were not allowed to do so, as officials said that a hold had been placed on his release over a potential parole violation stemming from a 2018 conviction.
“While he (the officer in the video) is under investigation, he is still running free,” Jackson said. “The man who is hurt is still in jail and should be home free. Now that we’ve paid the bail, and based on the judge’s evaluation yesterday, they put up another road block.”
Kersh’s family says that he suffers from schizophrenia, and needs treatment.
The incident is not Kersh’s first offense. He has 11 misdemeanors on his record over the last two years, as well as several felonies, including resisting a peace officer and aggravated battery of a police officer.
Kersh’s next court date is set for Thursday.