In 2005, Randle Miles was stabbed in Chicago. He went to the local hospital for treatment and, when he felt that the staff wasn’t helping him quickly enough, he began to mouth off. The hospital staff called the police who sent officer Bill Cozzi to deal with the dispute. Cozzi decided that the best way to deal with a man who was acting belligerently but posed no physical threat to anyone was to shackle him to a wheelchair, beat him with a small club (a “sap”), and file fraudulent criminal charges against him.
Video from one of the hospital’s surveillance cameras shows the incident:
Initially, Cozzi was going to get off with just a slap on the wrist. His friends in the justice system set him up with a sweet plea deal. He would have to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, but he would only be given 18 months probation and a two year, unpaid suspension from his job. After the two years were up, he’d be given another chance to commit depraved acts of violence under the color of law.
Luckily, the FBI learned of the incident and decided to prosecute Cozzi for a civil rights violation. Cozzi plead guilty and is now serving a 40 month (3 and 1/3 year) prison sentence. End of story, right?
Now Cozzi’s friends in the Chicago PD are whining about his treatment in a very public way. To show his support, Cozzi’s former co-worker Officer Bob Cavaiani directed a successful effort to raise $3500 to erect this billboard:
According to Cavaiani, the billboard “shows that we stand united behind Bill… We stand united in a miscarriage of justice that has befallen Bill because, basically, he’s been prosecuted twice.”
Cozzi’s family stated that “We believe the charge was politically motivated and that the 40-month sentence at a federal prison in Louisiana was unjust and excessive. … We know that Bill is deeply touched by this display of support and affection for him.”
Here’s what I have to say: