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Another video of alleged police brutality in North Chicago surfaces

Updated: January 22, 2012 8:09AM

A second video appearing to offer evidence of police brutality in North Chicago has surfaced.

Recorded by the North Chicago Police Department’s own camera in July 2010, the video shows an officer preparing to search what appears to be a docile man in the department’s booking room. The officer suddenly punches the man in the back of the head and slams his face into the wall. The man, arrested for loitering and public drunkenness, crumples to the floor. Another officer rolls in a mop and pail and begins scrubbing blood from the wall and floor.

The video, which was shown to a full house at a meeting of the North Chicago City Council on Monday, was obtained by Ralph Peterson of Waukegan, the cousin of Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna, 45, who died Nov. 13, a week after his arrest by North Chicago police. Peterson and other family members are pushing for the removal of Police Chief Mike Newsome and the prosecution of the officers involved in Hanna’s arrest. They argue the death was the result of a pattern of excessive force by rogue officers that has been either tolerated or ignored by the department’s top brass.

In North Chicago, Peterson said, “You get beat, go the hospital, then you’re arrested.”

Peterson also provided a police report of the booking room incident in which the arresting officer states that the detainee was combative and struck his nose on a hand sanitizer dispenser. An accompanying statement by a police sergeant — the same one who mopped the blood — claims the force used by the officer “was necessary” and notes that a copy of the report was sent to the chief’s office for review.

Newsome said after the meeting that he had no knowledge of the incident and that he will “start an investigation.”

“I have to find out what video they showed and we will be looking into it,” he said.

Peterson screened another video during a Police Safety Committee meeting on Dec. 8 that showed police beating and kicking Van Alston, 61, of North Chicago, during a 2009 arrest. Alston filed a complaint and received a $90,000 settlement. The city’s insurer also paid $1 million to the estate of Aaren Gwinn, who was unarmed when he was shot to death by police in an attempted drug arrest in 2008.

Four council members have voted to recommend Newsome’s removal. Peterson asked 5th Ward Alderman Torrance Abrams, a local minister, to respond to the video.

“I’m appalled,” Abrams said.

But when Peterson urged Abrams to vote to suspend Newsome — “He needs to get out of the way, he needs to go, he’s the problem,” Peterson said — Abrams refused to be pressured, saying he had “a lot of questions.”

Mayor Leon Rockingham, who was absent from Monday’s meeting due to the death of his wife, has said he will take no action until an investigation into Hanna’s death is complete.

The investigation conducted by the State Police has been completed, according to attorney Muriel Collison, who is representing the Hanna family in a wrongful death suit filed in federal court last week. But the results won’t be released until an investigation into the cause of death is finalized. That report is expected next month.

The Hanna lawsuit is the 10th filed against the city since 2005 for excessive police force.

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