CHICAGO – A police officer suspended after a hospital surveillance camera recorded him beating a handcuffed man shackled to a wheelchair is due back to work in April, but the city's new police superintendent says he plans to review the case.
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, who officially takes office Feb. 1, plans to take a "hard, close look" at taking further action against Officer William J. Cozzi, police spokeswoman Monique Bond told the Chicago Sun-Times for a story published Monday.
Bond called the incident "a concern" for Weis, an FBI veteran chosen to succeed former Superintendent Phil Cline, who announced his retirement last year amid allegations of excessive force, barroom brawls involving off-duty officers and a scandal in a disbanded gang and drug unit.
Weis has vowed to crack down on misconduct.
Cozzi, 50, pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor battery in the 2005 incident.
The surveillance video — presented at Cozzi's disciplinary hearing before the Chicago Police Board last summer and obtained by the Sun-Times through a Freedom of Information Act request — shows Randle Miles, now 62, sitting in a wheelchair in the emergency room lobby of a Chicago hospital.
Cozzi is seen shackling Miles' legs to the wheelchair, then striking Miles about 10 times. Cook County prosecutors have said Cozzi struck Miles with a small baton.
Miles was in the hospital for a stab wound to the shoulder. Authorities say he was intoxicated, uncooperative with the hospital's staff and verbally abusive to officers.
Miles' attorney, Timothy Whiting, called Miles "harmless" and said he required stitches after being hit. Whiting's law firm has obtained a $125,000 settlement from the city in the case.
Cozzi's attorney, William Fahy, said the officer is "extremely remorseful of his conduct."
"The Police Board heard all the evidence and found him guilty of his conduct," Fahy said. "They considered his many, many years as a police officer. Based on the evidence, they made the right call. He deserves a second chance."