WASHINGTON - Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald announced today that Chicago police officer William Cozzi was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Chicago for violating the civil rights of a restrained man.
Cozzi, 50, was charged with one count of depriving the civil rights of another while acting under color of law. The indictment alleges that on Aug. 2, 2005, Cozzi, while performing his duties as an officer with the Chicago Police Department, used a dangerous weapon to repeatedly strike a victim who was in a wheelchair, handcuffed and shackled, in Norwegian American Hospital. The indictment also alleges that the assault resulted in bodily injury to the victim.
The incident involving the assault of the man was captured on videotape by surveillance cameras at the hospital, and that videotape later appeared in the news media.
If found guilty of depriving the civil rights of another while under color of law, Cozzi faces a maximum punishment of 10 years of imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Betsy Biffl from the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Drury.
The charge set forth in an indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.