Police brutality in impaired driving case — (5NBC Chicago)

SSRI Ed note: Woman driving impaired under the influence of antidepressants has altercation with police officer.

Original article no longer available

5NBC Chicago

CHANNAHON, Ill. — A case of alleged police brutality caught on an officer’s dashboard video camera resulted in the cop’s suspension last month.

However, dozens of residents have come to the officer’s defense.

Squad car video shows the altercation between motorist Debra Losacco and Officer Ed Bischoff, which occurred in November 2004.

According to Morris Daily Herald, Losacco was involved in a car accident near her home on the morning of the altercation. She walked back to her house and got into a truck, which she drove back to the accident scene in an apparent attempt to pull the wrecked vehicle from a ditch.

But Bischoff arrived at the scene and tried to place Losacco under arrest for drunken driving. After handcuffing her, the video shows Bischoff apparently grabbing the woman by the neck and shoving her against the back of the pickup truck.

“It was clearly an officer grabbing a female prisoner in handcuffs, he had in custody, by the throat, said Channahon Mayor Joseph Cook. “Even an intoxicated person has rights.”

Bischoff was suspended Jan. 31 without pay for 30 days.

However, not everyone agrees that Bischoff used excessive force.

“He asked her, ‘Have you been drinking?’ She said, ‘No; I’m taking medication,'” said Richard Reimer, Bischoff’s attorney. “This case is not about the excessive use of force. This case is about a woman who made a decision to resist arrest, drive twice while intoxicated after being given an opportunity to get a break.”

More than 100 residents attended the January hearing in support of the officer, saying Bischoff did everything he could to avoid arresting the woman, even though she appeared impaired.

Anna Little, who witnessed the altercation, said she believes Losacco was under the influence.

“She was screaming and yelling at him, calling him names. She was telling him she is on tons of medication,” Little said. “By all means did he act reasonably.”

Losacco declined NBC5’s request for an interview. Police lab tests on the woman showed the presence of an antidepressant and a medication to treat panic disorder, along with two over-the-counter drugs.