Chicago cop Eric Elkins charged for violent attack on gay couple
A Chicago policeman who beat up a gay couple outside a gay bar in a violent attack last year has been charged with battery and released on bail.
On Tuesday (May 7) a Cook Country judge said the attack “shocks the conscience,” but set bond for Eric Elkins, 45, at $250,000 with electronic monitoring.
Elkins can now return to his Florida home.
Another man, 34-year-old Giovanni Rodriguez, faces similar felony charges for the same attack, which took place in September last year.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Three men hospitalised after brutal attack
The attack happened outside popular Chicago gay bar @mosphere on September 29, 2018.
Elkins, who was off-duty at the time, was alleged to have been responsible for the beating that left three men hospitalised.
Gay couple John Sherwood and Tomasz Stacha, the two victims who filed a lawsuit against Elkins late last year, both suffered serious injuries and multiple broken bones in the attack.
The prosecutors in the case allege that one man ended up with compound leg fractures and another suffered broken eye sockets after Elkins beat and kicked them.
Elkins and Rodriguez are alleged to have run away after the attack, but Elkins was later identified by the victims after they picked out his picture from a photo array.
Rodriguez, a nurse practitioner from Chicago with no previous criminal record, was stopped by police after running away.
At a press conference this week, Sherwood said: “I am happy this is finally moving forward. I’m wondering why it took seven months to move forward with the investigation.”
Prosecutors allege Eric Elkins was protected by police ‘code of silence’
Timothy Cavanagh, lawyer for the victims, alleges it took so long for the case to move forwards because the police “protect their own.”
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Last November, Cavanagh said: “They had probable cause to arrest (Elkins) weeks ago. But because it’s a Chicago police sergeant, nothing.”
When the incident took place, Elkins was on paid desk duty because of a previous sexual assault allegation. In 2016, he was charged with criminal sexual conduct involving a teenager in Michigan, but the sex charge was dropped and Elkins pleaded guilty to the smaller charge of disorderly conduct.
Elkins resigned from the Chicago police force on January 31, 2019.
He has been charged with two counts of aggravated battery causing bodily harm, while Rodriguez faces three counts of battery. The charges are each punishable with up to five years in prison.
The case continues.
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