A suburban Chicago police chief said officers captured on a widely shared video arresting a security guard did so after the guard allegedly struck a man who had been handcuffed.
Harvey Police Chief Robert Collins said the security guard the officers arrested last Saturday was working for a security company that contracts with the Pace suburban bus system, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Robert Undraitis, 60, of Calumet City, was arrested after his alleged attack on Jeremiah Nesbitt, 30, of Chicago Heights after Nesbitt earlier had allegedly struck Undraitis in the face near a Pace terminal.
The chief said Undraitis chased Nesbitt down and after Nesbitt was handcuffed by Harvey officers and stood up, Undraitis “sucker punched” Nesbitt.
Collins praised the officer who ordered the Undraitis’ arrest after he allegedly struck Nesbitt.
“This was a uniformed person and that officer took action immediately,” Collins said Wednesday. “I am very pleased that he took action.”
Undraitis is charged with battery and illegal possession of a gun. Harvey police confiscated his 9mm handgun because he didn’t have a valid state firearm owner’s identification card, Collins said.
Nesbitt was charged with battery. Collins said a Harvey officer who knelt on Nesbitt’s back during his arrest didn’t violate Harvey’s police policies because it was a “temporary control tactic” and didn’t involve a choke hold or pressure on Nesbitt’s neck.
Undraitis and Nesbitt were released on bail, court records show. Neither man could be reached for comment, the Sun-Times reported.
A cell-phone video recorded by a woman at the scene which shows Harvey police officers struggling to arrest Nesbitt, also appears to show Undraitis striking Nesbitt. More than 4.7 million people have viewed a Twitter post of the video as of Thursday afternoon, fueling speculation about the incident.
Pace spokeswoman Maggie Daly Skogsbakken said Thursday in a statement that Undraitis is not a Pace employ but is employed by a company that has a contract to provide the bus system with security. “We cannot speak to the status of his employment with that company, but he is no longer allowed to work on Pace contracts," she said in the statement.