Chicago Police Refuse To Fire Officer Allegedly Filmed Punching Handcuffed Man
The Chicago Police Board has voted not to fire an officer who was accused of lying to investigators after allegedly punching a handcuffed man.
The initial incident took place at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago on June 3, 2014, when Officer Clauzell Gause got into an altercation with then-24-year-old Rayshon Gartley after he was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.
In a police report, Gause is said to have omitted that Gartley was handcuffed when he punched him, however prosecutors have argued that hospital surveillance footage captured the officer holding Gartley’s arms behind his back and shoving him against a wall while he was handcuffed.
Gartley allegedly bounced back towards the officer before Gause punched him in the face with a closed fist. In the wake of the incident, Gartley filed a lawsuit against the city and police department in 2016, with the suit settled for $175,000 two years later.
Last year, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended the officer should be fired for allegedly lying to investigators about the incident, NBC Chicago reports. According to a document outlining the charges, Gause told COPA investigators that he did not make contact with Gartley’s face or head during the altercation.
During a monthly meeting that took place on Thursday, May 20, the Chicago Police Board decided to clear Gause of the accusations in a 5-3 vote.
As part of the decision, the board passed a motion that declared Gause not guilty of making a false statement regarding his use of force, and to restore him to his position within the police force.
The incident involving Gartley is not the first time Gause has found himself accused of misconduct while in uniform, as the Citizens Police Data Project reveals that at least 14 complaints have been filed against him.
The officer was also one of 11 other Chicago Police officers accused of using excessive force during the arrest of Jerome James in 2013. In a federal lawsuit filed by James, he alleged he had been throwing something into a bin outside a restaurant when the officers took him into custody ‘without any probable cause that a crime had been committed’.
When James asked why he was being held, the officers allegedly proceeded to assault him using ‘brass knuckles’, as well as making racist comments and ripping the clothes off his body, leaving him naked.
James was taken to Roseland Community Hospital after another detainee alerted a supervising officer that he was in need of medical attention, the suit claims. The city settled the lawsuit for $60,000 in 2015.
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