Sergeant Under Investigation for Police Misconduct Against Teen



Unidentified off-duty Chicago police sergeant under investigation
Unidentified off-duty Chicago police sergeant

Off-Duty Police Sergeant Attacks Teen

(IL) – An unidentified Chicago police sergeant is under investigation after he pinned a 14-year old to the ground. The sergeant’s son’s bike was stolen outside of a library. The stolen bicycle ended up on the sidewalk outside of a Starbucks. Nieves, the victim, was with a group of friends, all on bicycles, when they came upon the bike blocking the sidewalk. The victim went to move the bicycle out of the way and was attacked by the sergeant.

Nieves was taken to the ground. The sergeant then kneeled on Nieves, cutting off his ability to breath. The other teens yelled at the sergeant saying Nieves hadn’t done anything wrong and were able to push the sergeant off of Nieves.

News.wttw.com,

“Our son’s hands were on the bike as he was moving it out the way … while he was in possession his own bike, right next to him,” Nieves wrote. “This adult did not use words — he used force; he used his hands. Grabbed our son’s wrists, body slammed him, then held him down with his knee to forcibly restrain him.”

The Park Ridge police arrived. The officer identified himself as a Chicago Police Department sergeant. He accused Nieves of stealing the bicycle. No details have been listed in any of the articles, but the police apparently felt there was not enough evidence to charge anyone. No charges were filed.

Video Goes Viral, Policy Violations Recorded

That would have probably been the end of the story if there hadn’t been video. Fortunately, one of the teens did record most of the incident. Excessive force used against Nieves was captured. The video shows the sergeant flagrantly violating some of his agency’s policies. The below is from their use of force section.

V. POST-USE OF FORCE POSITIONING AND MONITORING

After gaining control of a subject, members will:
A. avoid sitting, kneeling, or standing on a subject’s chest, which may reduce the subject’s ability to
breathe.
B. position the subject in a manner to allow free breathing. Whenever feasible, the subject will not be
forced to lie on his or her stomach.
C. monitor a subject until transported to a secure location.
D. request and offer medical aid to any injured Department member, bystander, or subjects consistent
with the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled “Use of Force.”

The sergeant is obviously in violation of subsections A and B. He probably violated the approved use of force criteria, listed in a previous section, but the assault happened too fast for the teen to record it.

Was It a Set-Up?

I have no doubt that the sergeant’s son’s bicycle was stolen, but let’s look at what happened. The kids come across a bike blocking the sidewalk and one goes to move it out of the way. He is immediately thrown to the ground by the sergeant. What are the odds that the sergeant happened to arrive at the right place at that moment? Not impossible, but it seems highly unlikely. Say it did happen. How did he know that was his son’s bicycle? Was there something massively distinctive about it?  How did he manage to be so close that before Nieves moved a step, he was already on the teenager, taking him to the ground?

That all seems too coincidental. So did the sergeant find the bicycle, leave it there, and lie in wait in the hopes of catching the thief? That sounds much more likely. But the sergeant isn’t in his jurisdiction. He’s a Chicago police officer. The incident happened in the City of Park Ridge. They have their own police officers. Who gave the sergeant the authority to set-up a sting operation?

Police tell citizens all the time, not to take the law into their own hands. They say, call the police. Why didn’t this officer do that?

Lawsuit Pending

The Nieves family feels the sergeant used excessive force against their son. They feel this was a case of racial profiling and they may be right.

News.wttw.com,

A 2017 investigation by the Department of Justice found Chicago Police officers routinely violated the constitutional rights of Black and Latino Chicagoans.

A 2021 audit by Chicago’s inspector general found Chicago officers were more likely to use more force against Latino people than White Chicagoans, according to the report.

The victim is Puerto Rican. The other teens he was with were all Anglo. Nieves was the one who placed his hands on the bicycle, but would the sergeant have automatically assumed a crime was occurring and acted so aggressively if one of the Anglo teens had touched the bike? Or would he have waited a bit longer to see what was really happening? As a police sergeant, he has to know that just touching the bike was not a crime.

The family wants everyone to know what a good boy their son is. He’s a straight A student, an athlete, and involved in youth ministry, but that shouldn’t matter. A child (or anyone) shouldn’t have to be perfect to get justice when mistreated by the police.

While the family is desperately trying to protect their son’s reputation against unsubstantiated claims by the sergeant, the sergeant is continuing with his regular duties as if nothing happened. The Chicago Police Department didn’t even put on desk duty while this incident is investigated.

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