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Chicago Police Officer Caught On Video Striking A Man At A 2014 Block Party

By Austin Brown in News on Sep 8, 2016 7:34PM

Chicago Police Department Officer Brett Kahn was charged with aggravated battery on Thursday, in the culmination of a police incident at a block party in North Lawndale that happened more than two years ago, and the Independent Police Review Authority's (IPRA) June 2016 release of a video documenting the event.

Kahn turned himself in Thursday morning to the Cook County state's attorney's office.

The video, which showed heated altercations and Officer Kahn striking Jeremiah Smith with his baton between the police and residents following the arrest of Lisa Simmons for public consumption of alcohol, became a case of interest during the national coverage of IPRA's mass video releases. News outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times included the video as one of the "stand out" examples of questionable behavior from Chicago police. It also followed a 2015 lawsuit from Simmons and Smith for wrongful arrest and police brutality.

The man can be seen punching Smith while holding his baton about 1:10 seconds into the video, which was taken by a bystander on a cell phone.

In July 2014, police pulled up to the block party, described in the lawsuit as a celebration of the signing of two local young artists to a major Atlanta label, as depicted in the IPRA-released video. The video then seems to show police slamming Simmons onto the hood of the police car and arresting her, followed by some chaos and eventually, a shot of Kahn appearing to struggle with Smith and eventually hit him.

The charges come alongside a wave of recent IPRA activity and turmoil, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel less than two weeks ago announcing plans to replace IPRA with a "civilian office of police accountability" and "citizen oversight board." It is not immediately clear how this will affect the Kahn case.

[H/T Tribune]