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Man claims lieutenant caused 4-month-old baby to tumble from car seat onto a restaurant table

Updated: October 27, 2011 5:50PM



We won’t know if a Chicago Police lieutenant caused a 4-month-old baby boy to tumble out of a car seat and onto a table at a South Side restaurant until the investigation into this matter is complete.

But this is not the kind of accusation that should be allowed to fester.

As first reported by Fox-TV last Friday, the baby’s father, Chaz Byars, has accused the police lieutenant of snatching the child’s car seat and causing the baby to hit his head on a table.

Illana Rosenzweig, chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, confirmed that the agency has received an allegation of misconduct and the matter is under investigation.

According to Byars, the accused officer was responding to a report of “shots fired” when he came into the restaurant.

“He burst in wearing a vest but did not identify himself as a Chicago Police officer,” Byars told me.

“He came in using excessive force against a young man who didn’t have anything to do with it,” Byars said. “I spoke up from my seat and said: ‘You don’t have to handle the young man that way.’

“I never approached the police officer. I just made a statement.”

Byars, a 29-year-old barber, said he was shocked that a confrontation was taking place between the police and a suspect inside the restaurant.

“The officer came straight in, went to the gentleman’s table and grabbed him up and tried to drag him out of the booth,” Byars recalled.

“I said: ‘That is crazy.’

“The police officer said: ‘Shut up b---- or I’ll take your ass to jail.’

“I said: ‘I’m not doing anything. What reason do you have to lock me up?’”

Byars said the officer told him he was being arrested for being a “dumb ass.”

He was charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. But Byars is adamant that the police officer’s conduct was reckless.

“What would have happened if the young man had been the shooter?” Byars pointed out. “Let’s say he was armed and dangerous. This could have turned into something more than a child getting dropped. Someone could have been murdered.”

The man who was the target of police was not charged with a crime.

But Byars will have to defend himself against criminal charges even though the charges stem from actions he perceived to be police brutality.

After he was cuffed, a young lady at another table picked up the car seat with the baby in it. That’s when the police officer allegedly snatched the car seat and the baby toppled to the table.

“Even the restaurant owner said the police officer was out of line,” Byars told me. “It was the cashier that called the police.”

The restaurant owner could not be reached for comment.

Byars also alleges after he was handcuffed, the police officer “smacked him with a radio.”

Although the baby allegedly struck his head on a table, Byars said police transported his 4-month-old son to a police station instead of to the hospital. That’s where the mother picked up the infant.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand why after my child fell, why my child was not transferred to a hospital,” Byars told me.

According to the restaurant owner, the lieutenant in question returned to the establishment that evening with other cops apparently looking for a tape recording of the incident, Fox-TV reported.

Byars said he intends to fight to clear his name. “I never resisted arrest. All I said is he didn’t have to rough the young man up. It is not an obstruction of justice for anyone to speak up and exercise their freedom of speech.”

Hopefully, IPRA will get to the bottom of this sooner rather than later. Because right now, this incident is looking like another example of callous policing.

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