Chicago, IL – Two Chicago police officers who have been on desk duty and under investigation for almost seven years will now face discipline from the department and could be fired.
The incident began at about 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2014 in the elevator of the parking garage in the 100-block of West Madison Street, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Authorities said at the time that 28-year-old Joseph Baskins and his group got into the elevator with three men whom they later learned were Chicago police officers, WMAQ reported.
Baskins told police that he and his fiancé were at City Hall to get married and that he had gone down to the garage with some friends for a smoke break when the judge announced an intermission between ceremonies, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The officers in the elevator had been at the city Law Department for a meeting about a pending federal civil rights lawsuit that had been filed against them, WMAQ reported.
Baskins said in a federal lawsuit he filed later against the Chicago Police Department (CPD) that Chicago Police Sergeant Patrick Gilmore told him and his friends that they were on the wrong elevator, the Chicago Tribune reported.
An attorney for Brian Williams, a friend of Baskins’ who was with him in the elevator, said the sergeant then commented “we got on the n—a elevator,” according to WMAQ.
“Words were exchanged,” a spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told reporters at the time.
The lawsuit said Baskins asked Sgt. Gilmore to repeat what he had said and one of the other officers with him replied “you heard what he said,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Authorities said that Baskins and his friends followed the officers into the parking garage and a fight erupted, WMAQ reported.
Baskins allegedly punched the sergeant in the face and the two of them went to the ground fighting.
Sgt. Gilmore pulled his gun at some point, and Williams stepped in and kicked the gun out of his hand, according to WMAQ.
“My 2-year-old daughter, I was in fear for her and for her safety. I didn’t know he was police. I just kicked the gun out of his hand because I was scared,” Williams told the Chicago Tribune in 2014.
Witnesses told police that Baskins picked up Sgt. Gilmore’s gun and fled the scene on foot.
The sergeant was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition but was treated and later released, WMAQ reported.
He is no longer a member of the Chicago police force, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Baskins was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, but all charges were later dropped as the investigation progressed.
Chicago Police Officers Marc Jarocki and Michael Kelly were stripped of their police powers and placed on desk duty in November of 2014 pending investigations into the incident, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Baskins filed a federal lawsuit against the city and all three officers in 2017.
The lawsuit alleged that after the incident, the officers involved had claimed they smelled marijuana on Baskins in the elevator and were trying to arrest him when the fight started, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“The defendant officers then claimed that Baskins and his group were the aggressors and initiated criminal action against Baskins as a means of covering up their actions,” the lawsuit read.
The complaint also alleged that when the three officers met with city Law Department attorneys after the fight, the lawyers gave them gum because their breath smelled like alcohol, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The two attorneys resigned after an investigation into the allegations by the city’s Inspector General’s Office.
It took five CPD administrations before either Officer Jarocki or Officer Kelly would face discipline for their roles in the incident, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In late August, CPD Superintendent David Brown moved to fire both officers based on multiple allegations, including the failure to come to the aid of the Sgt. Gilmore during the fight with Baskins when he was badly beaten and had his gun taken.
Disciplinary charges filed with the Chicago Police Board also said that neither officer had immediately called the police afterwards about the incident, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officers Jarocki and Kelly also stand accused of having violated several CPD policies that included bringing discredit to the department, failing to promote CPD’s efforts, failing to perform any duty, and failing to promptly report information about a crime “or other unlawful action” to their department.
Officer Kelly has also been accused of not notifying a supervisor that he had left the Law Department’s offices that day until three hours after the fact, a payroll and timekeeping violation of department policy, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Officers Jarocki and Kelly’s cases next go before the Chicago Police Board, which will hold a quasi-trial and determine whether they should be fired now, seven years after the incident.
The city of Chicago settled the lawsuit brought by Baskins for $450,000 in 2019, the Chicago Tribune reported.