Photo courtesy of Lynwood Police Department
A video recently obtained by the Better Government Association appears to show a Lynwood police officer slugging a handcuffed prisoner inside the south suburb’s police station, perhaps knocking him out cold.
The prisoner, 25-year-old Randolph Holmes, sustained a concussion and a broken nose from the ordeal, according to medical records, police documents and interviews.
This video, obtained by the Better Government Association, shows Lynwood police with suspect Randolph Holmes.
But maybe as alarming as the Sept. 20, 2013, incident was the response – in the immediate aftermath and the ensuing year.
The video shows a handcuffed, staggering Holmes – just after being allegedly cold-cocked by an officer – seemingly dragged into a Lynwood police vehicle. He was driven to a neighboring police department for fingerprinting, and only later, perhaps three hours later, was taken to a hospital where his injuries were treated, according to interviews, police documents and hospital records provided by Holmes.
Meanwhile, despite knowledge of the incident and the video, Lynwood officials kept the officer on the street until July 14, when he was put on paid administrative leave. That move followed the hiring of a new police chief in June, and repeated media inquiries.
Randolph Holmes in the hallway of the Lynwood Police station / Lynwood Police Department
The office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez had been aware of the incident and video from almost the start but hasn’t pursued criminal charges against the officer, according to interviews, and Lynwood police records obtained by the BGA under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
However, Alvarez’s office charged Holmes with aggravated battery of a police officer, a felony, for allegedly spitting on the officer just prior to the alleged punch, records show.
An Alvarez spokeswoman said a criminal investigation centering on the officer is continuing, and that it’s not unusual for a police misconduct probe to take this long.
Initial police reports don’t mention the alleged punch – though a supplementary report written just in the last few days does, suggesting there was an effort in Lynwood to hide what occurred.
If you don’t see the video above, click here and watch it on CBS2.
Shortly before the Lynwood police station incident, Holmes was arrested at a local apartment complex for domestic battery and an outstanding warrant, according to interviews and public records.
Holmes has a lengthy criminal history, and he was drunk and on drugs when he was arrested, according to police and medical records.
Lynwood police officer allegedly striking Holmes / Lynwood Police Department
Video footage from a surveillance camera inside the station on Sept. 20, 2013, shows Holmes and an officer quarreling in a booking room and the same officer shoving the handcuffed Holmes into a door.
Separate footage, shot inside an attached garage, shows an officer apparently striking Holmes with his arm or fist. The handcuffed prisoner’s knees buckle and he falls to the ground, appearing to be momentarily unconscious.
In a recent interview with CBS2, Holmes says the officer hit him in the face with his elbow, breaking his nose and causing a concussion.
Copies of medical records corroborate that account. Holmes was taken to Franciscan St. James hospital in Chicago Heights after the incident, records show.
“My whole face was bloodied up,” he says.
Lynwood Village Attorney Michael Marovich identified the officer in both videos as Sgt. Brandin Fredericksen. Reached by phone, Fredericksen confirmed he was the officer in the videos but says he was told not to comment.
Marovich says the village has initiated disciplinary proceedings. The Lynwood Police and Fire Commission will decide how or if Fredericksen will be punished.
“If evidence shows he wrongfully broke this guy’s nose, they’re going to try and terminate him,” Marovich says.
In late July Holmes filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Lynwood Police Department, Fredericksen and then-Lynwood Officer Kayvon Karimi, who witnessed some of the encounter (and who, according to footage, at one point prior to the alleged punch forced Holmes to the ground.)
The BGA, in collaboration with the Northwest Indiana Times, and CBS2 originally asked Lynwood for a copy of the Holmes video and related reports last October. The village denied the request because Holmes’ criminal case was still pending.
The BGA and CBS2 followed up this month after learning Holmes’ criminal case had concluded. (He pleaded guilty to resisting a police officer and was sentenced to a year in prison, though he was given credit for the time he had spent in Cook County Jail awaiting disposition of the case.)
The village, however, still refused to turn over video and reports. After a BGA attorney got involved, the village relented and handed over the materials on Sept. 8.
No initial reports mention Holmes was struck or even injured.
Karimi was in the booking room when Fredericksen shoved Holmes, though he was not in the garage when Holmes’ nose was broken.
An incident report Karimi authored doesn’t mention that Fredericksen hit Holmes, though Karimi says in an interview “I attempted to report it to the chain of command and was told it would be handled.”
On Sept. 7, 2014, almost a year after the beating and a few days after the BGA and CBS2 asked for copies of reports, the department filed a supplemental narrative.
The new report says Karimi omitted key details because he “felt threatened by Sgt. Fredericksen, who told him ‘you better make this look good.’”
The report says, “When Ofc [sic] Karimi goes back into the garage HOLMES was laying on the ground near Sgt. Fredericksen’s squad car… While laying on the ground HOLMES is screaming that he was knocked out by Sgt. Fredericksen.”
Sgt. Fredericksen never filed a report about the beating.
Karimi left the Lynwood Police Department in January. He is now an officer in Homewood.
A previous BGA investigation showed that police misconduct in suburban Cook County is an expensive and widespread issue. More than $40 million has been expended on misconduct lawsuits in suburban Cook over a five-year period, ending in mid-2013.
Previous BGA stories involving alleged police misconduct
This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Andrew Schroedter and CBS2’s Pam Zekman. They can be reached at (312) 821-9035 or email@example.com.