December 14, 2015 / 9:01 PM / 4 years ago

Chicago police used excessive force on man dragged by handcuffs: judge

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago police used excessive force on a black man who died after he was dragged by handcuffs out of his cell and down a hallway three years ago, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

The ruling came as Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel face intense scrutiny over the police department’s use of force. Protesters have called for Emanuel’s resignation since last month’s release of a video showing a white police officer shooting to death a black teen.

Facing sharp criticism over the case, Emanuel has apologized for the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald and is searching for a new police superintendent.

In the separate case of the man dragged by handcuffs, Officer Keith Kirkland and supervising officer Sergeant Tommy Walker are liable in their treatment of Philip Coleman, who later died at a hospital, according to court documents. The races of Kirkland and Walker could not immediately be verified.

Coleman was arrested for domestic battery on Dec. 12, 2012. After he refused to go to court the next morning, there was a physical altercation with several officers inside a cell and he was Tasered, court records showed. He was handcuffed, shackled, and dragged motionless by the handcuffs by Kirkland.

The Tasering and dragging were caught on videocameras but there was no accompanying audio, the documents said. The Coleman video was released to the public last week.

Walker failed to intervene and “could have and should have prevented Officer Kirkland’s misconduct but failed to do so,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly wrote in his opinion and order.

After Coleman was dragged motionless by the handcuffs, he was taken to a hospital, where he was Tasered again and died, according to the documents.

The administrator of Coleman’s estate, Percy Coleman, claims the officers’ repeated use of excessive force against Philip Coleman caused his death. Local media identified Percy Coleman as Philip Coleman’s father and a former law enforcement officer.

Damages will be determined by a jury at trial, the documents said.

Though the Cook County Medical Examiner ruled that Coleman died accidentally as a result of treatment he received in the hospital, Emanuel said his treatment while in police custody is being investigated.

Additional reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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