Watch CBS News

Bernard Kersh, Man Slammed To Pavement By Police Officer, Charged With Aggravated Battery, Resisting Arrest

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A man who was slammed to the ground by police on Thanksgiving is facing aggravated battery charges, after police say he resisted arrest, and spat on and threatened an officer when he was caught drinking in public.

Bernard Kersh, 29, has been charged with one felony count of aggravated battery, one misdemeanor count of resisting police, and one misdemeanor count of simple assault. He also was cited for drinking alcohol in public.

Bernard Kersh
Bernard Kersh is charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest. Police say he spat on and threatened an officer who had stopped him for drinking in public. An officer was caught on video slamming Kersh to the pavement. (Credit: Chicago Police)

Kersh was due to appear for a bond hearing on Sunday.

Cell phone video shared on social media shows a Chicago police officer lift Kersh off his feet and slam him onto the pavement at 79th and Cottage Grove around 4 p.m. Thursday. Kersh's head slams against the curb, and he doesn't move for the rest of the video.

Police said officers had stopped Kersh for drinking alcohol at a bus stop, and were writing him a ticket for drinking in public, when he spit at and licked an officer's face. The video shows him standing against a squad car, his back to an officer, when the officer picked him up and threw him to the pavement.

CPD described the move as an "emergency takedown." The officer involved has been stripped of his police powers while the incident is under investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Keshia Johnson, Kersh's mother, said she was on the phone with him as he was arguing with police. The call suddenly ended.

"If he did do it, I think that was excessive," Johnson said. "He could have killed him slamming him on his head like that."

"He needs to be re-trained," Johnson added. "He needs to be fired. I'm upset. That's my child and he was hurt."

Jovanna Jamison recorded the video as she approached the intersection.

"I pulled out my phone and started recording and the officer slammed him to the ground," Jamison said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted that while the video doesn't show the entire incident, she found it "very disturbing."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.