- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Chicago Police Department relieved an officer of his power of arrest Tuesday as it investigates a video that shows him stomping on a suspect’s head.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson placed the unidentified officer on desk duty after a video appeared online Monday in which the cop could be seen knocking a restrained person unconscious with a kick to the head, the agency acknowledged.

“After careful consideration and reviewing the video footage, Superintendent Johnson decided to relieve one of the officers involved in the incident that occurred on the 3900 block of West Grenshaw of his police powers while IPRA investigates the case,” the department said in a statement, referring to the Independent Police Review Authority, a local law enforcement watchdog.

“Since his appointment, the Superintendent has stated that accountability begins with him down to the last police officer and that he will tirelessly work to rebuild public trust in the Chicago Police Department,” the statement said.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the CPD, said the incident occurred Monday afternoon after an officer chased down a man accused of selling drugs. A plainclothes officer can be seen in the video attempting to restrain the man on the ground when a second cop, in uniform, kicks him in the head.

Eyewitnesses identified the man being arrested as Shaquille O’Neal, and the Chicago Tribune reported that Illinois Department of Corrections records indicate he was on parole for a felony drug conviction at the time the altercation unfolded.

“Shaquille lost consciousness, he stopped moving for like 25 or 30 minutes,” witness Lenell White told Chicago’s ABC affiliate, WLS. “It looked like he was passing away.”

Mr. O’Neal was rushed in an ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was treated and released into police custody. Charges against Mr. O’Neal are pending after authorities reportedly recovered three bags of heroin during the arrest, the police spokesman said.

Mia Sissac, a spokeswoman for IPRA, said that the watchdog agency began reviewing the incident within hours of the video being uploaded to the internet on Monday, where it has since been viewed more than a half million times. As investigators quietly consider whether to take further action against the unnamed officer seen in the clip, however, an attorney for Mr. O’Neal told reporters that nothing his client did justified the type of action taken by the officer involved.

“The video shows an officer on top of him. He’s not going anywhere,” attorney Michael Oppenheimer told the Tribune. “And this officer just comes and stomps him on the head, and that’s just wrong.”

“I don’t care if a guy has a (criminal) background or not,” Mr. Oppenheimer added. “There’s just no excuse for an officer stomping and kicking a guy on the ground.”

Mr. O’Neal was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, WLS reported

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