Chicago Police Department

Chicago Cops Body-Slammed a Man on Thanksgiving, Then Charged Him With Assault

The arresting officer is on desk duty and an investigation is underway.


A viral video captured Bernard Kersh, 29, being slammed to the ground during a Thanksgiving arrest. Now the Chicago Police Department has charged the suspect with assault and placed the arresting officer on desk duty.

According to the police, Kersh was stopped for drinking on the public way. After being confronted, the department says, he threatened, became verbally abusive toward, and spat on the officers, then resisted arrest.

The incident was filmed and shared by Facebook user Jovonna Alexiss Jamison. The video shows Kersh with his body against a police truck. The arresting officer then picks Kersh up by the waist and throws him to the ground. He meets the sidewalk head first. Another man checks on Kersh, but he remains motionless for the remainder of the short video.

Kersh now faces charges for aggravated battery of a peace officer, resisting arrest, assault, and public drinking.

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson tweeted a press release on Sunday saying that he would attend Kersh's bond hearing later that day. "Unnecessary force could have cracked his skull," he explained. "No one deserves this kind of treatment."

Jackson's concern for Kersh's well-being is not without cause. In addition to the disturbing video, a picture that the police department shared on Facebook shows Kersh with what appears to be swelling under his eye. According to Jackson, Kersh was hospitalized.

Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition posted $500 for bail, and Kersh was allowed to return to his family under 24-hour surveillance.

WGN reports that Kersh has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The local station also reports that the department is currently unaware of any body camera footage from the arrest.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced on Friday that it is conducting an investigation.