Chicago Police Investigating Officer Throwing Coffee at Motorcyclist


Chicago police are conducting an internal investigation into an incident caught on video in which an officer throws a cup of coffee at a passing motorcyclist after the biker shouted at the cop near a downtown intersection.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Monday that he cannot defend the officer’s actions after watching the 40-second video. Police are not identifying the officer.

“We expect every officer to be professional (and) treat people fairly and responsibly,” Johnson said. “So to that end we’ll have an investigation, an investigation has been opened up, and when it comes down to it, that officer will be held accountable and will be disciplined appropriately.”

Johnson learned of the video Monday morning after the communications office received it from news stations, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

The video, which appears to be taken from a camera strapped onto a helmet, shows a group of bikers riding east on Hubbard Street toward State Street. The leader of the pack, in front of the camera, is doing a wheelie.

The rider taking the footage raises his left hand and shouts something indiscernible at an officer, standing on the other side of a solid yellow line, who appears as if he is waiting to cross the rest of the street. The officer then throws a cup of coffee underhand at the rider. It spills out of the cup midair.

The orange coffee cup rattles around the biker’s handles, and the brown fluid streaks down the camera lens. The rider shouts back, “I got you on camera, bro!”

A motorcycle group called Chicago United Riders posted the video to its Facebook page Sunday.

The group did not respond to a request for comment.

The same riding group was involved in a physical altercation in Aurora last summer that led to a pickup truck driving through a crowd of motorcyclists at an annual ride and competition.

That incident, which was captured on video July 30, also includes a tense interaction with police. According to Aurora police, a biker blocked a squad car from moving after the officer attempted to pull riders over for reckless driving and disobeying traffic signals.

As the group of riders continued, they encountered the driver of a pickup truck that tried changing lanes to get away from the crowd, according to police.

The situation escalated as the group surrounded the truck in a sea of bikes and one of the riders punched the driver through an open window. The truck driver returned blows and struck a biker when he tried to escape into a grassy area. The biker declined medical treatment.

The findings of the investigation into the latest incident will be presented to Johnson when it’s complete.

Source: Chicago Tribune | Elyssa Cherney, Peter Matuszak