Chicago Police

Man Body-Slammed by Chicago Police Officer Charged With Felony Battery, Other Crimes

Chicago police said the suspect was drinking alcohol at a bus stop Thursday when officers approached him

The man who was seen being body-slammed by a Chicago police officer in a widely circulated video on social media was charged with felony aggravated battery and other crimes, police said Saturday. 

At about 3:58 p.m. Thursday, officers saw a man, identified as 29-year-old Bernard Kersh, drinking alcohol at a bus stop in the 700 block of East 79th Street and approached him, according to Chicago police.

On Sunday, Kersh appeared at bond court where he was said to be held at a $5,000 bail with a 24-hour curfew. According to the judge, he is to get pretrial services, inclduing mental health treatment and his next court date is scheduled for December 5.

Police said Kersh became “irate” and licked the face of an officer and made verbal threats toward the officers. When the man spit in an officer’s eye and mouth, the officer performed an “emergency takedown."

A 41-second video of the incident that was posted to social media appeared to show the Kersh facing a police SUV with an officer standing behind him when the officer picks him up off his feet and throws him to the ground. The 29-year-old appears to lie motionless in the street as other officers gather around him.

The officer’s use of the emergency takedown maneuver was being investigated by the Chicago Office of Police Accountability (COPA), according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He added that COPA asked for the officer involved to be relieved of police powers pending review, and the CPD agreed.

Kersh was charged with felony aggravated battery on a peace officer, resisting arrest and assault. He was also cited for drinking alcohol on the public way.

Officials said he had 11 misdemeanors in the past two years and three prior felony convictions.

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