2 Cops Found Guilty Of Using Excessive Force For Dragging Unarmed Man From Cell
Screenshot from the disturbing video of police dragging Philip Coleman out of a jail cell.
On Monday, a federal judge found two Chicago police officers liable for excessive force in a 2012 incident, in which an officer dragged a 38-year-old man from a jail cell by his arms.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly wrote in his verdict that “Officer [Keith] Kirkland unquestionably used excessive force in pulling Mr. [Philip] Coleman’s hands over his head and dragging him from the cell,” according to the Sun-Times.
A second officer, Sergeant Tommy Walker, was found guilty for not stopping Officer Kirkland.
The verdict comes a week after the city released a video of six officers surrounding and tasing Coleman, then dragging his limp body from his cell.
Coleman was then taken to Roseland Community Hospital, where he died. (He was allegedly tased again en route to the hospital.) An autopsy found he died from a sedative administered at the hospital; Judge Kennelly did not weigh in on whether police brutality contributed to his death.
However, Coleman’s father, Percy Coleman, believes his son should never have been taken to prison.
“He was a rare individual who was having a mental breakdown,” Coleman told the Sun-Times. “The police didn’t do what we asked them to do. They should have taken him to a hospital — not a police lockup.”
Before the video took place, Coleman had been arrested and was being held for allegedly attacking his mother. He was facing a further felony charge for allegedly hitting officers and spitting on them when they tried to arrest him.
Coleman had an undergraduate degree in political science from University of Chicago and a master’s in public health from University of Illinois. He worked in the hospice industry.
“I think that the judge did the right thing and I applaud him,” Percy Coleman told the Sun-Times. “I think Chicago is at a real crossroads. I hate that my son’s death is a catalyst for getting things changed.”