Father alleges McHenry Co. Sheriff's Department beat teen son

October 25, 2013 (MCHENRY, Ill.)

The family of a McHenry East High School student says he has memory and balance problems, blurry vision, and headaches after he was stopped by McHenry County Sheriff's deputies. The family has hired a lawyer. The Sheriff's office says their deputies acted professionally and if this does go to court - they'll be vindicated.

"They are supposed to protect us, not beat us, not beat our kids," said Thomas M. Novak, alleged victim's father.

Novak's father, joined by an attorney and eye witness, says three deputies beat his son last Saturday.

"I want to know why my son. . .who is handcuffed behind his back got brutally assaulted by these three grown men who are trained professionals in restraining tactics," said Thomas M. Novak.

The teen was ticketed for underage drinking and released. Later that day, his father took him to the hospital and listened to the nurse.

"She said he had a skull fracture, a possible detached retina, a fractured nasal bone," said Thomas M. Novak.

The teen's girlfriend says they were walking home from a fast food restaurant when deputies stopped them after midnight, asked their age, and then went after Novak.

"First he was tackled by 3 officers, then handcuffed and then repeatedly the cop grabbed him by the hair and banged his head into the cement," said Lauren Fiumetto, eyewitness.

She says Novak struggled. The situation unfolded on the side of River Road near Burnett.

"One of the officer was saying, 'If you want to act like a tough guy, we'll show what a tough guy is like,'" said Lauren Fiumetto, eyewitness.

The McHenry Sheriff's Office released this statement, saying in part: "We have reviewed the police reports and audio/video from the in-car squad camera, as this case was well documented. . . We are confident that our deputies professional actions will be vindicated in the court of law, should a lawsuit be filed. "

"The fact that he wasn't charged with any misdemeanor, any felony further goes to show he wasn't acting unruly," said Gerald Connor, Novak's attorney.

The teen's father, though, is still worried about his son.

"He is not himself," said Thomas M. Novak.

The father says his son could not talk to ABC7 because he's still under medical treatment. The attorney says he has sent a letter to the sheriff's office to begin the legal process. On Friday, the undersheriff says they do have the dashboard cam and other evidence, but the office cannot release more on this case because Novak is a juvenile and the family may take legal action.

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