The family of a man who was body-slammed by a Chicago police officer thought he would be released on bond Monday, but a hold has been placed on his release as the Department of Corrections evaluates whether he violated his parole during the confrontation.
The man, 29-year-old Bernard Kersh, was charged with one felony count of aggravated battery, one count of resisting police, and one count of simple assault after the video-recorded confrontation with authorities on Thursday.
Chicago police say that Kersh was seen drinking alcohol at a bus stop, and were writing him a ticket for drinking in public. Police say that when confronted, Kersh spat on an officer and licked his face, and the officer then threw Kersh to the pavement and arrested him.
Kersh’s bond had been set at $5,000 in the case, and the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition announced Sunday that they would pay the bond. When they arrived to post the bond, the group was told that a hold had been placed on Kersh’s release, and he remains in jail.
According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Kersh’s case is being reviewed “to determine whether he will be served with a parole violation.” Kersh was already on parole for a 2018 conviction, according to court documents.
Jackson and other supporters have called the charges “excessive,” and are demanding a full investigation.
“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. We’re not going to stop until this is over.”
The officer involved in the case has been stripped of his police powers pending a review of the case, and the Chicago Office of Police Accountability is now investigating the case.
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 to a police officer.
His family says that Kersh suffers from schizophrenia, and needs treatment.
“He needs psychiatric evaluation, not a jail cell,” Rev. Jackson said.
Kersh’s next court date is set for Thursday.