Man knocked to the ground by Chicago police officer in viral video pleads guilty to battery – NBC Chicago
A schizophrenic man knocked to the ground by a Chicago police officer during an arrest was placed under court supervision Thursday after pleading guilty to a battery count in connection with the incident.
In return for his admission of guilt, Cook County prosecutors dropped other charges against 31-year-old Bernard Kersh, who made headlines across the country after his taped arrest went viral two years ago.
Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil also sentenced Kersh to one year in prison, but the time he served in custody was credited to him.
Kersh declined to make any statements during Thursday’s hearing.
On Thanksgiving 2019, officers approached Kersh at a bus stop on 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue and took away a bottle of vodka he was holding, police said.
Kersh got “angry” and spat in the eyes and in the mouth of the policeman, the police said at the time. This officer was then seen on a cell phone video picking up Kersh and throwing him to the ground.
In a video later released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Kersh is seen trying to follow the officer who originally took the bottle. Then you can see him turning to the other officer who used the “emergency room” against him.
Kersh lay motionless in the street after being knocked to the ground and eventually put in the back seat of a patrol car and taken to a hospital.
While Kersh was detained in the case, he was arrested in January 2020 and charged with serious battery and retail theft for pushing a security guard and stealing flowers and tequila from a South Loop jewel.
His bond was revoked and he was detained in the Cook County Jail.
On Thursday, Kersh also pleaded guilty to theft related to the latter case and was sentenced to one year of supervised release, according to court records.