PARK RIDGE, Ill. — A Chicago police sergeant has been charged after he was captured on video pinning a teen to the ground in Park Ridge.
Michael Vitellaro, 49, was charged with felony official misconduct and aggravated battery. He turned himself in on Thursday to the Park Ridge Police Department where he was processed and then taken to a Cook County courthouse for a bond hearing.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability posted on Twitter on July 5 saying they were aware of a video published on TMZ on July 1 showing a man, later identified as an off-duty officer, with his knee on a teen’s back as the boy is lying facedown on the sidewalk in front of the Starbucks at 100 S. Northwest Hwy.
Nicole Nieves on Facebook shared the video of Vitellaro kneeling on the back of her 14-year-old son, Josh, as the teen’s friends yelled at the officer to get off.
Nieves says her son was moving what appeared to be an abandoned bike out of the way. The sergeant accused Josh of trying to steal that bike which belonged to the officer’s son. Nieves said her son had his own bike with him.
Nieves, who is Puerto Rican, said the sergeant racially profiled her son because of his skin tone. She plans to file a formal complaint.
“We’ve talked to our 3 Puerto Rican boys about this moment for years—but you can’t emotionally prepare for this happening to your own child… then it does,” Nieves said in her Facebook post. “We can’t possibly put into words how we’re feeling—disgust, anger, frustration, outrage, fear, sadness.”
The Chicago Police Department said Vitellaro, a 22-year veteran, was relieved of police powers on Wednesday.
In response, Nieves said, “There is absolutely no room in our community for this unnecessary aggression towards any children at all and we’re so grateful for today’s progress towards accountability and justice.”