Springfield officer charged after beating seen on bodycam video

Body camera video showing a police officer beating a 19-year-old led to the officer facing charges of battery and misconduct, but his attorney says he was just a man who had reached his limit.

Springfield Police Officer Samuel Rosario now faces two counts of battery and one count of official misconduct. WICS reports his attorney Dan Fultz said his client is a decorated veteran who went on tours in multiple countries. He says he is also a husband, a father and a human being just like everyone else.

"Go back to Mexico!" the teen yells.

"I ain't from Mexico, you stupid [expletive]!" Officer Rosario fires back.

Attorney Dan Fultz says Officer Rosario had reached his limit with a 19-year-old standing at a potential crime scene.

"He has his limits, just like every other human being, He responded to a call while he's trying to gather information, this kid keeps interrupting him making comments, making derogatory comments, and I know it's become the new national blood sport to criticize the police, but everybody has their limits and he reached his," Fultz said.

"No, you watch what you say. You watch what you say. You watch what you say, kid. I don't know who you think you are talking to, But (bleep), you don't talk to me like that, you understand that? I'm here to help you. I'm here to help you, and all of a sudden before I even got here, you like [expletive]," Officer Rosario said in the video.

Fultz says Rosario does have some regret.

"Police are not better than anybody else and they're not worse than anybody else. Certainly nobody is as bad as the worst thing they've ever done. I would hate to be judged by the worst thing I've ever done in my life," Fultz said.

Sangamon County state's attorney John Milhiser said the video did play a role in pressing charges against Rosario.

"The body camera video is important evidence in any case. As we've seen with body cameras in the last couple years with body camera videos, in every case, we want to get as much evidence as possible. That's the idea to figure out what happened at the scene. In this case, the body cam video was used along with all the other evidence in the case to determine that criminal charges were appropriate," Milhiser said.

Milhiser says the legal process is no different for an officer than anyone else, but only public officials can be charged with felony official misconduct. That charge is eligible for probation. It can also carry a 5-year prison sentence.

Rosario, who has been a sworn Springfield officer since April 2015, has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond. The police department says Rosario's police powers have been revoked and he is on unpaid administrative leave.

Rosario's next court appearance is May 1.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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