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Ill. officer charged with using excessive force on man strapped to ambulance gurney
Washington Park, Ill.
   
 
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The officer is alleged to have used excessive force on the victim by TASERing him while he was strapped to an ambulance gurney


By Carolyn P. Smith

Belleville News-Democrat

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. — A Washington Park police officer has been charged with using excessive force on a 19-year-old man with "severe or profound intellectual disability" by striking him and using a stun gun on him while strapped to an ambulance gurney, according to Illinois State Police.

Justin D. Gaither, 32, is charged with two counts of official misconduct and four counts of aggravated battery. Gaither turned himself into authorities on Tuesday, when the charges were issued. He was released pending trial, the state police release states.

The incident that led to the charges happened at a home near 45th Street and Bunkum Road in Washington Park on March 19, the release states. Later that day, the Washington Park Police Department asked the state police's Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 6 to conduct an excessive force investigation.

Gaither had gone to the home in response for a call for service, according to the release.

"While in the home, Gaither reportedly became involved in a physical altercation with a 19-year-old male resident," the release states. "An ambulance responded to treat the injuries of the 19-year-old victim.

"Gaither is alleged to have used excessive force on the victim by striking him in the face and tasering him while he was strapped to an ambulance gurney.

"Gaither was purported to have performed these acts upon the victim when he knew the person to be of severe or profound intellectual disability."

The 19-year-old was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.

State police referred questions about Gaither's current status to the Washington Park Police Department.

The BND is reaching out to Washington Park officials this evening.

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