The Crusader Newspaper Group

Officers on desk duty after body-slamming incident

Crusader Staff Report

A second Chicago officer has been relieved of police powers after a Black man was seen on video being slammed to the ground in Chatham by an officer last week.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended the move on Wednesday.

Interim CPD Superintendent Charlie Beck reviewed and agreed with COPA’s recommendation while  an investigation into the use of force incident is ongoing, according to a police spokesman.

No other details are known about the second officer involved in the Thanksgiving Day incident that led to what police call an “emergency takedown.”

Bernard Kersh
Bernard Kersh

The 43-second video was taped by Jovonna Alexiss Jamison, who circulated it on social media before it went viral. The video doesn’t show what happened before the officer picked up Bernard Kersh, 29 and slammed him hard on the pavement.

Kersh was hospitalized after being body slammed at 79th and Cottage Grove by an officer who alleges Kersh spat on him, was verbally abusive and threatened him.

Police said Kersh became verbally abusive, licked an officer’s face and spit on him.

“Officer Williams immediately conducted an emergency takedown to place arrestee into custody and prevent any additional injuries to himself,” the arrest report states.

The officer who conducted the “emergency takedown” was relieved of police powers by former CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Kersh is facing an aggravated battery of a peace officer charge and several misdemeanor charges in the incident.

Chicago police said Kersh was drinking from a vodka bottle at a bus shelter in the Chatham neighborhood last Thursday, when he was approached by two officers.

Reverend Jesse L. Jackson attended Kersh’s bond hearing on Sunday, December 1.

“Unnecessary force could have cracked his skull,” said Jackson. “It raises alarm. No one deserves this kind of treatment,” he said, referring to the officer performing an “emergency takedown.”

Jackson tweeted a press release on Sunday saying that he would attend Kersh’s bond hearing later that day.

When Rev. Jackson accompanied Keisha Johnson to post bail for her son on Monday, they learned there was a parole bond hold against Bernard for a different case. “They refused our $500,” Rev. Jackson said. “They revoked his parole; thus, he is still in jail.

WGN reports that Kersh has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The local station also reports that the department is currently unaware of any body camera footage from the arrest.

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