Officer caught on tape allegedly beating man in wheelchair

January 21, 2008 9:06:02 PM PST
A Chicago police officer was caught on tape allegedly beating a man in a wheelchair.The independent police review authority recommended he should be fired.

The Chicago Sun-Times provided video that allegedly shows Officer William Cozzi striking the man, who was in the hospital with a stab wound. The Sun-Times reported that Cozzi has pleaded guilty to other charges of beating people. The video was used as evidence in his disciplinary hearing.

The Chicago Police board says misconduct occurred but that Cozzi should merely be suspended.

The Chicago Police Department and the independent review authority plan to appeal that decision.

Incoming police superintendent Jody Weis says he supports the decision to terminate the officer and that no officer is above the law.

With three hospital security guards watching, Cozzi handcuffs and shackles a wheelchair-bound patient and then beats the man using some sort of small baton. The incident took place two years ago in the lobby of Norwegian American Hospital in Humboldt Park. The victim was 60-year-old Randle Miles.

The beating was not prosecuted as a felony. Cook County state's attorney candidate Howard Brookins said he believes it should have been. Brockins is blaming two opponents ? Bob Milan and Anita Alvarez. Both are top Cook County prosecutors.

"There is no explanation for it. It has continued to be swept under the rug," said Brookins.

Last year, Cozzi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. First assistant state's attorney Milan said it was fair based on Cozzi's clean record and that Miles was not injured.

"He had no charges at him at all, no disciplinary record whatsoever," Milan said.

But Alvarez said she pushed for the case as a felony.

"That is a blatant lie. She was involved in the decision-making process," said Milan.

As for Randle Miles, his civil attorney said his client was only concerned about getting a fair settlement from the city.

"I don't think Randle had any opinion whatsoever of what happened with this officer," said the attorney.

Miles received a $125,000 settlement from the city. Officer Cozzi was sentenced to 18 months probation. As far as his job, he was suspended. He is expected to return in April. But the police department wants him fired.

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