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Cop who hit handcuffed suspect get probation

Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Howard Jr. enters court Thursday for his trial charges aggravated battery July.  |  Rich

Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Howard Jr. enters court Thursday for his trial on charges of aggravated battery in July. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 11, 2012 6:12AM

A Chicago Police sergeant convicted of hitting a handcuffed man outside a South Side restaurant in 2010 will not have to serve jail time.

Edward Howard Jr., 48, was convicted of aggravated battery and official misconduct in July after a bench trial before Cook County Judge James Clayton Crane.

On Friday, Crane sentenced Howard to 18 months of probation, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin. He had faced up to five years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for jail time.

Howard struck a handcuffed 19-year-old man across the face three times about 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2010, in the parking lot of the Gyros King restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes, prosecutors said at the trial.

They also presented a videotape from the restaurant and witness statements.

The man and two friends had been arrested for criminal trespassing after walking out of the restaurant, according to prosecutors. He complied with police orders and walked to the squad car and placed his hands on the vehicle.

Officers handcuffed him behind his back and searched him, police said. Howard then struck the man, the last time hard enough to knock him off balance. The man suffered cuts, bruises, a swollen lip, and redness and swelling of the face, according to prosecutors.

He was taken to the Gresham District station and released a few hours later without being charged, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The incident was initially reported to the Independent Police Review Authority, which contacted the state’s attorney’s office.

At trial, Howard, a 25-year veteran cop, admitted striking the man, who he said was using profanity and was going to spit on him. He was stripped of his police powers.

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