Body camera footage released Thursday shows a Waukegan police officer throwing a handcuffed man to the ground last month, leaving the suspect injured.
Waukegan Police Officer Richard Tabisz was charged with two felony counts of official misconduct and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
The Waukegan Police Department responded around 4:30 p.m. on December 14 to a residence for a call of a fight in progress.
Officers learned the suspect fled from the scene after committing a domestic battery and violating an order of protection, according to Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Scott Chastain.
Officers provided the suspect’s description over the radio and other officers located the suspect.
They placed him in custody for domestic battery and violation of an order of protection-related charges.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said up to seven officers were on the scene and the suspect was cooperating after being in custody for several minutes.
“The situation was completely under control,” Rinehart said.
Tabisz arrived to transport the suspect to the police department in his squad car for processing.
Tabisz, who was not the arresting officer, threw the handcuffed suspect to the ground in front of several other officers, Rinehart said.
Chastain said the suspect had stopped walking right before the officer threw the man to the ground.
The suspect’s head hit the ground and he suffered a minor injury, Chastain said. He was transported to a local hospital and released.
On Thursday, the City of Waukegan released a minute and 45 seconds of body-worn camera video from a nearby officer.
The video showed Tabisz walking the handcuffed man to his squad car.
As the pair walked to the squad car, the suspect stopped walking, and Tabisz is seen throwing him to the ground.
“Oh, you fell dude? Why’d you fall? Why’d you fall?” Tabisz is heard asking the man, who is groaning in pain.
“Get up,” Tabisz tells the man.
“I’m going to sue you motherfu–ers,” the suspect says.
Other officers arrived to pick the suspect up off the ground.
They continued to walk him to the squad car.
While officers searched Tabisz’s pockets, one of them is heard asking the man, “You still crying?”
The man is again heard groaning in pain while an officer secures him in the back seat of the squad car.
The suspect was charged with multiple counts of domestic battery and violating an order of protection before being transported to the Lake County Courthouse for an initial appearance.
Waukegan Police Department supervisory staff were soon made aware of the incident by other officers who witnessed Tabisz’s actions, Chastain said.
Command staff reviewed the body camera footage and sent Tabisz home for the evening. He was placed on administrative leave.
Rinehart said the incident was “clearly” captured on the bodycam footage.
“Besides Tabisz, other officers on the scene acted very professionally throughout the encounter. We will hold individuals accountable for breaking the law regardless of their profession. I want to thank Chief Navarro and Mayor Ann Taylor for their swift actions in this matter,” Rinehart said.
The Waukegan Police Department brought the case to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office the day after it happened so they could investigate.
Tabisz remained on administrative leave during the investigation, Chastain said.
“The Waukegan Police Department acted swiftly and appropriately with respect to presenting the evidence to our office,” Rinehart said.
Tabisz was called into the police department on January 3 and charged with two felony counts of official misconduct and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
He was processed and released and is scheduled to appear for an initial court hearing on January 17.
The state’s attorney’s office immediately began reviewing all pending cases involving Tabisz.
“Regardless of the criminal proceedings against Officer Tabisz, the City has already initiated an internal investigation and will take decisive action to address the conduct of any officer who does not comply with the City’s internal policies,” Chastain said.
Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said in a statement she was “deeply disappointed in the actions of this police officer” but was “very proud that the Waukegan Police Department and our officers hold one another accountable for their actions.”
“I applaud the proactive measures in place at the Waukegan Police Department that quickly moved this case to the Lake County State’s Attorney for review,” Taylor said.
In September 2022, now-former Waukegan Police Officer Dante Salinas was charged with official misconduct and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm from an August 2019 incident where he allegedly broke a man’s eye socket by punching him repeatedly while on duty.
Salinas was also charged with second-degree murder for a separate incident where he shot and killed Marcellis Stinnette, who was a passenger in a vehicle fleeing from officers.