|01-28-2009, 05:49 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pacific Northwest
Blog Entries: 1
Chicago cop pleads guilty in wheelchair assault
CHICAGO - A Chicago police officer captured on a hospital videotape beating a man who was handcuffed and shackled to a wheelchair pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of violating the victim's civil rights.
William Cozzi, 51, who has been suspended by the police department, told U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning that he "lost it" when he struck the victim repeatedly with his baton.
Manning sent the sentencing for March 26.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal prosecutors calculated the sentence range under advisory federal guidelines as six to eight years.
Defense attorneys are expected to argue that the range should be lower.
Cozzi pleaded guilty last year to a state misdemeanor charge in the beating. But police Superintendent Jody Weis, a former FBI official who was brought in to head the department, also referred the beating to the FBI for further investigation, resulting in the civil rights indictment.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said at the time that officers saw the referral as unfair.
The incident took place in August 2005 while the victim was at Norwegian-American hospital awaiting treatment for a stab wound.
According to his signed plea agreement, Cozzi was sent to the hospital to respond to the stabbing. The victim was being loud and verbally abusive.
Cozzi handcuffed him and shackled him to the wheelchair, then struck him repeatedly with his baton even though there was no physical threat, it said.
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|assault, chicago, cop, guilty, pleads, wheelchair|