Attorneys for a man whose vicious beating, allegedly by a Chicago cop, was captured on surveillance video are calling out Chicago’s Cook County prosecutor’s office for deciding to drop all charges against the cop.
“I think anyone could look at that video and make a determination that it’s excessive force,” Andrew M. Stroth, a lawyer for Rayshon Gartley, told the Chicago Tribune. “To just drop the charges? That’s not appropriate given the situation.”
Stroth represented Gartley in a civil suit against the city regarding the case, which the city settled for $175,000 last year—four years after Gartley’s encounter with Officer Clauzell Gause.
In 2014, Gartley was involuntarily taken to Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital for a mental health evaluation. According to prosecutors, Gause attacked Gartley in retaliation after Gartley suddenly stood up while having his blood pressure checked and punched the officer in the face, the Tribune reported.
Surveillance video showed Gause shoving a now-handcuffed Gartley into a wall, knocking him onto a bed, and repeatedly slapping him before hospital personnel arrived moments later, authorities charged.
Two years later, Gartley filed a civil suit against the city, in which he denied ever punching the officer, and the Cook County State’s Attorney Office hit Gause with a felony charge of official misconduct.
At the time, according to the Tribune, prosecutors attributed the delay in charging Gause with their inability to find Gartley to discuss what happened.
Now, prosecutors say Gartley’s continued lack of cooperation is behind their decision to drop the case against Gause entirely.
As the Tribune reports:
In spite of the video’s clarity, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office quietly dropped the felony charges that Gause had been facing for more than three years, saying it couldn’t go to trial that day because the victim had repeatedly refused to cooperate and show up in court.
“We cannot proceed and meet our burden without the testimony of Mr. Gartley,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kenneth Goff said moments before Judge James Obbish granted a prosecution motion to “nolle pros” the case — drop the charge, according to a transcript of the brief June 20 hearing.
Gartley’s attorney Stroth disputed the prosecutors’ take, saying he didn’t remember the prosecutor’s office trying to contact him or his law partner, and telling the Tribune that Gartley was “simply hesitant to relive ‘one of the most traumatic events that’s ever happened to him.’”
Gause, who was put on paid desk duty following the incident, may still face departmental charges in the case.