A veteran Chicago Police officer was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday after he was convicted of using excessive force in the beating of a South Side convenience store clerk.
Aldo Brown was ordered to report to prison by June 24. In October, the 38-year-old former officer was found guilty of one count of using excessive force and aqcuitted of two counts of filing a false police report.
"They're letting criminals go and they are coming after police officers," Brown said after court Wednesday.
Brown was indicted in 2014 on federal civil rights and obstruction charges in connection with an incident that occurred in September 2012.
Brown reportedly testified in court that he and his partner were conducting an investigation into a tip that drugs were being sold at a convenience store in Chicago. Brown claimed that during the investigation he saw a handgun in the clerk’s pocket and ordered the man to put his hands up. Fearing for his life, Brown testified he tried to take down the man as the two grappled on the floor.
Federal prosecutors have claimed that Brown had no idea the victim had a handgun before the beating, arguing that it wasn’t until after the victim was in handcuffs that Brown knew about the gun.
Surveillance video shown in court reportedly showed Brown beating and kicking the man for nearly a minute before putting him in handcuffs and taking the gun away. He then allegedly kicked the victim again while he was handcuffed on the floor.
Prosecutors also allege Brown lied in his police report documenting what happened, saying his report contradicted what was seen in the video.
Brown’s attorney reportedly argued in court that the store was in a violent neighborhood and a known drug spot and Brown had reason to be concerned for his safety. He said the video shows only one small part of what happened and alleged prosecutors don’t know for sure what Brown saw.
"Aldo Brown's actions, they benefited that community," Attorney Dan Herbert said Wednesday.
Brown told the judge Wednesday he didn't lie in his report, but acknowledged what happened on the video, saying he was under tremendous stress.
"Police officers are under a lot of stress dealing with all the shootings and everything that is going on," he said. "It is making our job harder to do."
The Chicago Police Department said Brown is currently suspended, but it plans to "seek separation." He was stripped of his police powers on Sept. 29, 2012 and has been without pay since Nov. 26, 2014.
"Mr. Brown’s actions are intolerable, and they undermine the hard work that police officers do each and every day to honorably serve our communities," the department said in a statement.
The judge said it appeared Brown had remorse, but didn't fully understand what he did wrong. The judge said Brown's actions damaged the relationship between police and the community, telling him, "We can't have a police community of us versus them."
"These police officers are on the edge," Herbert said. "They area in the front lines of the same violence that we have the luxury of reading about in the newspaper every day, but not experiencing."