AFRICANGLOBE – Newly released video that shows Chicago police dragging a man who later died in custody has prompted the embattled department to reopen an investigation into the three-year-old incident.
City officials have been under intense scrutiny for police misconduct in recent weeks and have promised to be more transparent about investigations into police wrongdoing.
On Monday night, the city released surveillance video from 2012 that showed police officers gathering around detainee Philip Coleman in his cell, striking him with a Taser and then dragging his limp, handcuffed body down the hallway.
Full footage of the violent incident can be viewed below.
“I do not see how the manner in which Mr. Coleman was physically treated could possibly be acceptable,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
“While the independent investigation is ongoing we will be doing our own review of our policies and practices surrounding the response to mental health crises,” acting police Superintendent John Escalante said in a statement.
Both Emanuel and Escalante indicated that authorities would take a second look at the incident; the mayor said he was unsatisfied with the investigation Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority had performed.
“Something is wrong here — either the actions of the officers who dragged Mr. Coleman, or the policies of the department,” Emanuel said. “I have not received a sufficient answer on either from IPRA’s former leadership, and as a result I do not consider this case to be closed or the investigation into what happened that night to be over.”
A Chicago Police Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday the investigation had been considered complete and could not elaborate on how or when it would be reopened. IPRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“Something is wrong here — either the actions of the officers who dragged Mr. Coleman, or the policies of the department.”Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Coleman was arrested Dec. 12, 2012, after he allegedly beat his 69-year-old mother and became “combative” and spat at responding officers, according to the police. At the time, family members said Coleman was acting erratically before the arrest and noted he had no criminal past.
Police took Coleman to a local police station, stunning him with a Taser when they tried to take him to court and again when they took him to an area hospital. The 38-year-old University of Chicago graduate may have been struck with a Taser as many as 16 times while in custody, CBS Chicago reported, citing police records.
Coleman later died at the hospital. An autopsy ruled his death was accidental — the result of an allergic reaction to a sedative he was given.
Family and friends defended Coleman at the time of the 2012 incident. Percy Coleman told CBS last year that his son suffered a mental breakdown and should have been taken to a hospital, not to jail.
City officials released the surveillance footage of Coleman’s cell in response to an open records request by CBS Chicago. The tape, which prompted Coleman’s family to file a civil rights lawsuit, is just one of several black eyes for Chicago police in recent weeks.
Criticism of the department’s use of force exploded on Nov. 24, after a court order forced the city to release 2014 dashcam footage showing an officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times as he appeared to walk away from the police.
Two weeks later, police released dashcam video of another 2014 incident, this time showing police fatally shooting 25-year-old Ronald Johnson, whom officers say was armed.
Public outrage over the videos has led Emanuel to fire his hand-picked police chief, Garry McCarthy. The department’s chief of detectives, Constantine Andrews, has resigned and the chief of IPRA, Scott Ando, was ousted. The Justice Department has also opened a civil rights investigation into the department.
By: Kim Bellware