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Off-Duty Chicago Cop Accused of Pinning Park Ridge Teen on Sidewalk Charged With Misconduct, Aggravated Battery – NBC Chicago

An off-duty Chicago Police officer is facing felony charges after he was seen last month pinning a 14-year-old boy to the ground, the Park Ridge Police Department said Thursday in a press release.

According to the Cook County State’s Attorney, Michael Vitelllaro, 49, has been charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery, both of which are felonies.

Vitellaro on Thursday turned himself into the Park Ridge Police Department and was taken to a Cook County courthouse for a bond hearing, the release said.

The incident occurred on the evening of July 1 in suburban Park Ridge, at 100 S. Northwest Hwy outside of a Starbucks.

In a video clip posted by Nicole Nieves, the teen’s mother, a man is seen pressing his knee against her son’s back outside the coffee shop.

According to the video, the man who identifies himself as a Chicago police officer says that he suspected the teen of stealing his son’s bike.

“He’s taking my son’s bike,” the man says in the video.

The teen’s friends are also seen in the video trying to help him up, yelling at the officer that he was doing nothing wrong.

“No he’s not!” the teen’s friends yell back in the clip.

Nieves called the friends’ actions “brave and courageous,” and attorney Antonio Romanucci echoed those sentiments during a Wednesday press conference.

“If it was not for the boys, there’s no telling what may have happened,” he said.

After the incident, the teen’s family asked for criminal charges to be filed against the officer, with Nieves arguing that it was a clear case of racial profiling.

“We see the bias of an off-duty cop taking advantage of a Brown boy with Afro-hair, smaller in stature, and choosing to take the law into his own hands with physical force,” she said. “A clear abuse of his position of authority, an authority meant to protect my son.”

A Park Ridge police spokesman said that the officer identified himself to responding authorities at the scene following the incident. Last month, the family filed a criminal complaint with Park Ridge police, with Chief Frank Kaminski saying that the charges were a possibility.

“Yes, there is the potential of charges,” he said. “We have taken this very seriously, and I personally find the images in that video we got very disturbing.”

Nieves says that the video shows the off-duty officer using excessive physical force, and emphasized that her son was not resisting even as his friends attempted to help him.

Park Ridge parents speak after they say their 14-year-old son was pinned to the sidewalk, a knee pressed against his back, by an off-duty Chicago police officer who thought the boy had stolen his son’s bicycle.

“What do we see? We see a scared, yet controlled, and eerily calm child underneath the force of a grown man pressing down on him excessively with physical force. A grown man who did not use his words before using violence,” she said.

She also criticized community members who may jump to conclusions while viewing the video.

“Many people will see the video and pass judgments. ‘He must have done something first, all teenage boys are trouble these days, he shouldn’t touch other peoples’ property,’ and on it goes,” she said.

As an investigation continues, and as the family considers litigation, the boy’s parents are concerned about the long-term effects that the incident may have on him.

“The very thought of what could have been worse is a lot to bear, but it was a very traumatic experience for all of us,” Nieves said.

“Right now, we’re concerned about his mental wellbeing and his emotional wellbeing as well,” Angel Nieves, the teen’s father, added.

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