A Joliet officer has been stripped of his police powers after video showing a man's fatal overdose while in police custody was leaked last week, a source with knowledge of the case told NBC 5.
According to the source, the officer was moved to administrative duty and had his weapon taken away.
The video showed what happened when Eric Lurry overdosed while in police custody and died at an area hospital earlier this year.
Police said internal investigations are underway into Lurry's death as well as how the footage was leaked.
Lurry was taken into custody on Jan. 29 during an undercover drug operation, Joliet police said.
In the video, taken from the dashboard of the police car that Lurry was riding in, it appears that he is chewing on something. Several minutes later, when officers tried to pull him out of the car, he was unresponsive.
In the footage, one officer slaps Lurry and curses at him before pinching his nose shut. Another officer is seen using a collapsible baton to try to pull the object out of Lurry’s throat.
Police said Lurry had swallowed a large quantity of drugs, and he later died. The Will County Coroner’s Office determined Lurry had fatal levels of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in his system. The concentration levels were more than 10 times the fatal range, the coroner's office reported.
Lurry's death was ruled an accident and the coroner and pathologist who conducted the autopsy said "the Joliet Police Department officers played no role and shared no responsibility in the unfortunate and untimely accidental drug overdose death."
Lurry’s wife Nicole said she was horrified by what she witnessed on the camera footage.
“I can’t believe what they’re doing to him,” she said as she watched the video. “They’re sitting here holding my husband’s nose, hand on his throat. I can’t believe it.”
Ever since the incident took place, Nicole Lurry and her attorney have been asking for police reports about her husband’s arrest, but had not received the information they were seeking.
“I’ve had no answers from the Joliet Police Department. I feel like they’re trying to cover something up,” she said.
Joliet police said there is no cover-up, and an internal investigation into Lurry’s death was ongoing.
When asked why it has taken five months, officials said laws and protocols dictated that the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Major Crimes Task Force had to complete an investigation into the incident before an internal investigation could be launched by the Joliet department.
Those external investigations ended without criminal charges for the officers involved, according to Joliet police officials.
Lurry’s attorney minced no words about what they say happened on Jan. 29.
“I think I just witnessed the homicide of Eric Lurry,” attorney Michael Oppenheimer said. "These police officers knew he was in distress, and they never called 911. For over seven minutes, they didn’t call 911. The law says you have to call 911 to give him aid.”
Despite the findings of the investigation by the state's attorney and the Major Crimes Task Force, Oppenheimer is demanding justice for the Lurry family.
“They did nothing to help him,” he said. “They probably killed him by doing what they did.”
Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk requested an investigation by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office.