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Chicago police sergeant accused of brutality

By Divina Mims, CNN
  • Bond is set at $20,000 for Sgt. Edward Howard Jr.
  • He is accused of slapping a handcuffed, unresisting man three times on the face
  • "It is a sad and difficult day" for law enforcement, the state's attorney says

(CNN) -- A Chicago police sergeant is facing brutality charges stemming from an October incident caught on surveillance tape showing him repeatedly slapping a unresisting, handcuffed man across the face.

At a hearing Friday, a bond $20,000 was set for Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, on charges of felony aggravated battery and official misconduct.

According to prosecutors, on the evening of October 11, while leaving King Gyros on South Vincennes Avenue, a 19-year-old man and two friends were arrested by two Chicago police officers for criminal trespassing. The man immediately complied with the officers' orders to place his hands on the squad car. He was searched and handcuffed without incident.

Witnesses said Howard then arrived on scene and struck the man three times across the face with an open hand. The third hit was forceful enough to send the man backward and off balance. The blows resulted in cuts, bruises to the man's lips and swelling to his face, prosecutors said.

"It is a sad and difficult day for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

"We recognize that police officers have difficult jobs and work under challenging circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust, and this officer's senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust."

Last month a Cook County judge convicted a former Streamwood, Illinois, police officer of aggravated battery and official misconduct after his dashboard camera recorded James Mandarino beating an unarmed motorist in his driveway.