But state’s attorney originally targeted alleged victim – then waited two years to prosecute officer. With an election ahead, cop’s lawyer asks if “politics” are in play.
More than two years after a former Lynwood cop was caught on video slugging a suspect in handcuffs, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced criminal charges against the officer on Tuesday.
Alvarez, who has faced withering criticism for allowing alleged abusive or crooked cops to go unpunished, charged Brandin Fredericksen, who is in his early 30s and lives in Indiana, with aggravated battery and official misconduct for the 2013 incident in which he first slammed an arrestee, Randolph Holmes, against a door in the police station and then later cold-cocked him in the face while his hands were cuffed behind his back.
The incident was caught by surveillance cameras inside the Lynwood station. The village wouldn’t release a copy of the tape or police reports until the Better Government Association’s lawyer got involved.
Alvarez did not initially bring charges against Fredericksen – but instead charged Holmes with aggravated battery of a police officer for allegedly spitting on Fredericksen just before the altercation.
With Alvarez facing a tough reelection battle next year, and complaints that she’s ignored police misconduct, Fredericksen’s attorney Dan Herbert suggested Tuesday’s charges were politically motivated.
“We find this charge very interesting in light of the fact that the state’s attorney’s office . . . viewed the video tape well over a year ago and not only did they not bring charges against my client, they brought charges against” Holmes, Herbert said. “I can’t speak for the state’s attorney but I think it’s reasonable to infer that the office’s decision was motivated by politics.”
Alvarez’s press secretary Sally Daly said via email that the charges were brought now because the review by her office has been completed. The investigation “was delayed in part because Holmes was unable to be located for several months to be interviewed as well as the fact that he was charged with attempted murder in a more recent unrelated case,” she said.
Holmes is facing attempted murder charges for allegedly shooting a 25-year-old man last year in Ford Heights.
Daly further stated that Alvarez’s office “has been engaged in an ongoing and active investigation into this case and in recent months has issued subpoenas and continued to gather information needed to complete a comprehensive and thorough investigation.”
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However, the BGA found that Alvarez’s office knew of the Holmes video soon after the incident, yet there’s little evidence of a vigorous investigation until after inquiries from reporters.
The BGA, in conjunction with CBS2 and the Northwest Indiana Times, first reported on the incident last year, noting that initial police reports made no mention of the alleged punch by Fredericksen.
Lynwood didn’t place the cop on administrative leave until 10 months after the incident and then ultimately fired him in 2015.
Holmes filed a civil rights lawsuit that was settled in 2015 for $500,000.