Chicago police officer charged with felony after hitting man with baton, bending the truth
Brett Kahn, 31, is facing charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct after investigators found that the officer’s account did not match the video that was recorded the evening he made arrests on Jeremiah Smith and Lisa Simmons.
Cellphone video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube under the title "Police Misconduct in ChiRaq," prosecutors said Thursday.
"The video makes it clear that a crime was committed," said Rahsaan Gordon, a civil attorney representing Smith.
The baton-wielding officer is currently under the probe by the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), FBI and Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
Despite his charges, Kahn was released under his own recognizance after turning himself in to an investigator with the state's attorney's office. He is due back in court on September 26.
Kahn’s charges stem from an incident dating back to July 2014, when he – a tactical officer at the time – and his partner spotted a large group of people drinking alcohol "while on routine patrol.”
In his report, Kahn described the area as the one known “for heavy gang and narcotic activity.”
It appeared the crowd of teenagers was celebrating their friends’ record deals, when Kahn ordered them to disperse.
The officer ended up taking two young people in custody, Smith and Simmons, on charges of drinking alcohol in public.
The discourse between Kahn and both Smith and Simmons was recorded on video by a witness.
In the phone footage, Kahn is seen approaching Smith and grabbing his arm, to which the young man tried to resist. This is when the officer allegedly used his service baton.
"The defendant then struck the victim in the head with the baton so as to either deliver a weighted punch or a blow to the head," prosecutor Theresa Smith said Thursday. "The victim suffered bleeding, a knot to the head and experienced throbbing pain as a result of this incident."
In his report, Kahn wrote that he thought that Smith was trying to punch him, but the video does not show anything like that. He also said that the man he arrested had a knife in his pocket.
The prosecutor stated that Smith, who now bears the status of the victim in the case, did not attack, fight with the officers, display any weapons, or commit any other offenses.
Prior to hitting Smith, Kahn also arrested Simmons, slamming her into the hood of his police car. The video showed her attempting to move away from Kahn, who then pulls out a baton.
Smith was arrested for battery, resisting a peace officer and unlawful use of a weapon, but the charges were dropped after the video was released. Before that, he pleaded guilty to battery.
Simmons also went to trial, but the charges against her were dropped.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune that Khan had been stripped of his police powers and placed on paid desk duty.
"We take these allegations very seriously and will await the judicial outcomes to determine the Department's further actions," he said.