CPD officer in newly released video of man being beaten while in custody was captured in other viral footage the same year – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

One of the two Chicago police officers in a video released this week of a man being beaten while in custody was also captured in footage of a suspect being body-slammed on a city street the same year, records show.

Damien Stewart and community organizer William Calloway held a news conference at City Hall to discuss the video of the in-custody beating, which occurred after Stewart was arrested following a traffic stop and charged with aggravated battery against a police officer, according to Calloway.

“There is no room in place for that type of uncalled for violence for an unarmed man that’s already in police custody,” Calloway said, calling for the termination of the officer who punched Stewart. “It’s uncalled for and it’s appalling.”

After learning the news about Tyre Nichols, a Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, Stewart decided to release and speak about the 2019 security footage from a Chicago police district station that shows two officers choking and punching him multiple times in the face while in lockup, Calloway said.

The two officers involved in Stewart’s case, Jerald Williams and Enrique Delgado Fernandez, were both suspended. Williams served a 15-day suspension in November 2021 and Fernandez served a 10-day suspension in April 2022 following the disciplinary grievance process, according to a Chicago police spokesperson.

Records identify Fernandez as the officer who struck Stewart.

Williams was also involved in another police brutality case the same year as Stewart’s beating, records show.

In November 2019, a bystander took a video that went viral of a Chicago police officer body slamming then 29-year-old Bernard Kersh after authorities alleged he spat in the officer’s face. That officer was later identified as Williams, with the same star number, in the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s report on the body slam.

A CPD spokesperson said they could not disclose what punishment Williams received for the body-slamming case, saying that the punishment is being appealed through a grievance process.

However, according to records from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the organization recommended a 45-day suspension for Williams in the case. At the time, police Superintendent David Brown thought that recommendation was too lenient and sought a 135-day suspension.

A lawsuit filed in the case by Kersh claims Williams is a trained mixed martial arts fighter known as “Bacon and Eggs,” and the suit alleges that his actions were intended to inflict “punishment or retaliation” rather than de-escalate the situation.

At some point since that incident, Williams was promoted to sergeant, and makes $117,900 annually, according to city records. Attempts to reach Williams and both officers’ attorneys were not successful.

In the video of Stewart’s beating, Stewart appears to be sleeping in a holding cell and then awakened by two officers on May 18, 2019.

During their interaction, one of the officers appears to touch Stewart’s head and walk away, and Stewart approaches the officer from behind. The officer then appears to grab Stewart around the neck with his arm, and punch him in the face. The pair wrestle onto the bed and a second officer holds him down, while the first officer continues to punch Stewart, the video shows.

“It was just shocking,” Stewart said. “I couldn’t believe it, honestly, because I was already in the station. … I gotta face the consequences of my actions that led me to the station, so it was like, I’m here already. I’m ready to get this process over with, so when these officers came back there, I didn’t know it was going to lead to that.”

“I’m already there in the cell asleep. So it was like, what was the search for? It seemed like they were kind of like picking with me, harassing me.”

Stewart sued the Police Department and settled for $45,000, according to Stewart and Calloway.

The release of video of Stewart’s beating comes amid the national outcry over the death of Nichols, a 29-year-old Black who worked for FedEx and was the father of a 4-year-old son, was dragged from his car by police officers from Memphis’ “Scorpion” street crime unit for alleged reckless driving.

In that video, Nichols is shown to be held down, kicked, punched and tased. Five officers were charged with murder.

Damien Stewart speaks Jan. 31, 2023, at Chicago City Hall about a 2019 case in which he says he was beaten by Chicago police inside a jail lockup.

In Fernandez’s interview with COPA, he said he and Williams and another officer stopped Stewart after observing a traffic violation, the report said. During the stop, Stewart refused to comply with their commands and had a firearm that he pointed toward Fernandez, and a physical struggle ensued.

At the station, Fernandez said he learned that Stewart was taken directly to lockup instead of being placed in a room in the processing area, according to the report. Fernandez and Williams went to the lockup to search Stewart because they were unable to conduct a proper search on the street, Fernandez told COPA.

Fernandez said when he told Stewart that he was going to be searched, Stewart responded with obscenities and said he did not want to be searched, but they were able to conduct the search, the report said.

At the end of the search, Fernandez placed his hand on Stewart’s head to do a “cursory check for anything that may have been missed” and told COPA he said something to the effect of, “It will be all right, dude. We’re done.”

Stewart approached him with his chest out and breathing heavily, and Fernandez said he believed Stewart was going to fight, the report said. Fernandez said he put his hand on Stewart’s chest and pushed him toward the bench to sit down but Stewart pushed back.

Fernandez then hit Stewart with a closed hand, the report said. He denied using force as punishment or retaliation for the struggle on the street.

In Williams’ interview with COPA on the incident with Stewart, Williams said when he arrived at the police station, he went back to the lockup to Mirandize and conduct a more thorough search, check whether Stewart had extra layers of clothing, and conduct an investigation into driving under the influence, according to COPA’s final summary report on the case.

Williams did not ask for a sergeant for permission to go into the lockup, he told COPA.

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COPA reported that Fernandez’s actions “were unprofessional and emotional,” and he initiated contact with Stewart in a disrespectful manner, causing the incident.

COPA found that Fernandez had entered Stewart’s cell without permission; initiated physical conduct without justification; placed his right hand and left arm around Stewart’s neck without justification; used force as punishment or retaliation and failed to complete a tactical response report after the use of force, according to the report. COPA recommend he be suspended for 15 days.

Stewart is currently on house arrest for fleeing and eluding for a case that occurred after the lockup attack. Calloway, who leads a faith-based nonprofit called Christianaire, said he is recruiting Stewart to participate in a South Shore second chance violence prevention program, “Passports for Peace,” but it’s difficult for Stewart to move freely due to the electronic monitoring.


Twitter @paigexfry

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