A Joliet police officer has been cleared of accusations he abused a local man.
Officer Ben Grant, who was accused of beating and using racial epithets toward a Sikh he was arresting, has been cleared by a police investigation.
Grant, who has been on the force for 18 months, was the subject of an internal 60-day investigation after the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund made complaints on behalf of Kuldip S. Nag.
Around 3 p.m. March 30, Grant was at Nag's residence, 3574 Buck Ave., after police received "an anonymous citizen complaint" about an inoperable vehicle parked in the driveway, which is against city ordinance.
"I put a (tow notice) tag on the car and was approached by Vera Nag. While I was talking to her, her husband came out and became angry a police officer was on his property," Grant said.
"He kept telling me I should get off of his property. I kept telling him his vehicle was violating an ordinance and he could be arrested for interfering with me," Grant said.
Nag reportedly pushed Grant, who responded by using his pepper spray on him.
"I kept telling him to put his hands behind his back. He was under arrest," Grant said. "He kept wrestling with me (as I handcuffed him)."
The defense fund said Grant used "his baton and violently struck Mr. Nag numerous times until he fell to the ground. While the assault ensued, the officer was ... saying, 'You (expletive) Arab! You (expletive) immigrant, go back to your (expletive) country before I kill you.'"
"I did not say any of those things," Grant said.
Police say three witnesses support Grant's claims.
"During our investigation into this incident, we interviewed neighbors and learned three of them saw and overheard the arrest," said Chief Fred Hayes.
"All of them supported Officer Grant's report completely and said the allegations in (Nag's) complaint were a mischaracterization of the events."
"We looked at the evidence and saw an officer using an appropriate amount of force, the minimum amount of force and keeping himself under control," Hayes said.
Nag was arrested on charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting a police officer. As he was being booked at the police station, Nag complained of pain and was taken to Silver Cross Hospital.
Nag was hospitalized for five days with complaints of intense pain and head trauma, according to the defense fund. After leaving the hospital April 3, he was booked into the county jail and released on bond the following day....
Rajbir Singh Datta, a spokesman for the defense fund, said he was not surprised to learn the investigation had exonerated Grant.
"I wasn't expecting an internal investigation to go against the officer," he said. [Link]
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