Did the McHenry Police beat up a 17 year-old kid?

The recent past hasn’t exactly been kind to the McHenry City Police Department.  Some poor internal controls last year lead to evidence (drugs… possibly money, who knows) being stolen from their evidence lockup by one of their own.  It was bad enough that the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office sent a letter to the defense bar notifying us that the poor control may have effected a number of drug cases.

The news today has nothing to do with that, but might be just as problematic.  The Northwest Herald reports that a 17 year old kid cited for underaged drinking alleged in a law suit that he was cuffed and beaten:

McHenry father says police unjustly beat 17-year-old

Published: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 5:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 5:26 p.m. CDT
By STEPHEN Di BENEDETTO – sdibenedetto@shawmedia.com
McHENRY – A McHenry family is alleging that at least three McHenry County Sheriff officers grabbed their underage son by the hair and bashed his head against the pavement during an incident along River Road last weekend.
Police stopped the 17-year-old boy and his girlfriend while they were walking home along River Road in McHenry around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 19, said Jerry Connor, a personal injury attorney at Albert R. Pino’s Law Offices who is representing the family.
An officer handcuffed the boy and cited him for underage drinking and then called for backup, Connor said. The officer and two others proceeded to beat the 140-pound boy, who suffered a detached retina and a concussion, he said.
The boy is currently receiving medical treatment and may be suffering from permanent brain damage, he said…

The article is accompanied by a picture of what appears to be some rather nasty damage to the kid’s eye and surrounding area.  Of course, if the kid has “permanent brain damage” (and I really, really hope he does not), the eye will be the least of his worries.

Allegations of abuse by the police happen all of the time. They are, typically, investigated by the Illinois State Police.  My experience with those investigations is that the I.S.P. rarely conclude somebody was wrongfully beaten.  I’ve also had numerous cases where the I.S.P. investigators will strongly suggest to witnesses of the police conduct that they or the person complaining of abuse could potentially face additional criminal charges for what they are telling the investigators.

Read into that what you will. The point is that for the number of allegations of police wrongdoing I’ve seen, law suits are rarely filed against the police. So, this will be an interesting one to keep an eye on.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. He loves his dog. And pizza.

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