Friday, April 13th, 2007

Man: Officer beat me and yelled slurs


GROUP SEEKS PROBE

April 13, 2007

By BRIAN STANLEY Staff Writer

JOLIET — A man says a police officer used excessive force and racial epithets while arresting him last month.

The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) e-mailed a press release Thursday asking for an investigation into the March 30 incident.

Joliet police Cmdr. Keith Turney said Thursday the department had not been contacted by the representatives of the man arrested, Kuldip Nag, 49, or SALDEF.

“We have not received any complaint,” Turney said. “The first we learned of this was from the media.”

Around 3 p.m. March 30, police responded to “an anonymous citizen complaint” regarding a vehicle parked on Nag’s driveway at 3574 Buck Ave.

An unidentified officer spoke with Nag’s wife, Vera, about the van’s expired plates and learned the vehicle was inoperable.

“The officer put a seven-day tow notice on the vehicle when he was approached by Mr. Nag, who questioned why he was putting a sticker on a vehicle in his driveway,” Turney said.

“The vehicle was in public sight and there is a city ordinance against (parking inoperable vehicles),” he said.

“Mr. Nag was upset the officer was on his private property telling him to move a vehicle he owned,” said SALDEF spokesman Rajbir Singh Datta.

Both police reports and SALDEF’s release indicate a struggle followed between Nag and the police officer.

Police say Nag pushed the officer and was subdued with pepper spray. SALDEF contends Nag did not touch the officer before he was sprayed.

“As Mr. Nag screamed in agony, the officer removed his baton and violently struck Mr. Nag numerous times until he fell to the ground,” SALDEF’s release said.

“While the assault ensued, the officer was reported by both Mr. and Mrs. Nag as saying, ‘You (expletive) Arab! You (expletive) immigrant, go back to your (expletive) country before I kill you.’”

Turney said reports do not indicate the officer made these statements and that he was requesting backup during the struggle. He ceased struggling with Nag before other officers arrived.

Datta said Vera Nag photographed her husband’s arrest.

“She was so shocked and stunned at the officer’s behavior she went into the house and got a camera just inside the door,” Datta said.

Nag was arrested on charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting a police officer. As he was being booked at the police station, he complained of pain and was taken to Silver Cross Hospital.

“Nag stayed for five days due to complaints of intense pain and head trauma,” SALDEF’s statement said. He “also received numerous bruises and a serious head injury which have caused him to go blind for several minutes at a time.”

Nag was booked into the county jail following his release from the hospital April 3 and released on bond the next day.

“He spoke to a community member who advised him to contact us,” Datta said.

Datta said a letter detailing the incident and asking for an investigation was sent to the police department earlier this week.

Datta said Thursday another letter would be sent after police said they had not received the first one.

Reporter Brian Stanley can be reached at (815) 729-6079 or bstanley@scn1.com

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Joliet Herald News

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