UPDATE: On July 16, the Chicago Police Department notified WBEZ that officer Brett Kahn was put on administrative duties and will remain there until the investigation into his actions is complete.
A video published this week as part of a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department shows police flooding a street on Chicago’s West Side. A large officer identified in court papers as Brett Kahn extends a telescoping baton and walks in a circle yelling at residents, “Get out of the street or you’re going to jail! Get out of the street or you’re going to jail!”
The officer approaches a man identified in court papers as Jeremiah Smith, who is standing a couple feet from the curb. Officer Kahn grabs him by the shirt and, seemingly unprovoked, punches him in the head. Smith goes down and is handcuffed. A woman holding a small child near Smith puts her hand to her mouth in shock, and residents can be heard on the video yelling expletives at the police.
Chicago police say the incident is under investigation but won’t say whether Officer Kahn is on the job, or on leave, or desk duty or anything else. The police department’s Office of News Affairs referred reporters to IPRA, the Independent Police Review Authority, but a spokesman for IPRA says they don’t make employment decisions. He said CPD is indeed the appropriate source for that information.
Attorney Rahsaan Gordon, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Smith, said there was no reason for Officer Kahn to have pulled out his baton.
“It was not a crowd that posed any type of threat at all," Gordon said. "There was no violent crime underway. Anything!
“The police are supposed to be there to de-escalate a situation, not escalate one and they brought violence to a peaceful situation,” Gordon said. He added that it’s incidents like this that cause so much distrust of police in black communities.