Oak Park cop named in brutal city beating case

Probationary officer put on paid leave pending department investigation

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

An Oak Park police officer has been placed on administrative leave following accusations that he and three others, one of them a Chicago Police sergeant, beat two men outside a nightclub in Andersonville on Sept. 29.

Oak Park Police Officer Dwayne Jones is accused in a civil lawsuit of attacking the two men outside @mosphere, a gay nightclub at 5355 N. Clark St., along with Chicago Police sergeant Eric Elkins, 44, and two friends, Jeffrey and Giovanni Rodriguez.

Attorney Timothy Cavanagh, of the Chicago-based Cavanagh Law Group, claims in the lawsuit that his client John Sherwood was at the nightclub with two friends, a man and a woman, when Jones and the other defendants became rowdy while doing shots.

They began throwing limes at one another and one of the limes hit his client. One of the people in Jones' party fell into Sherwood's table.

They asked Jones and his party to leave, and one of the defendants punched Sherwood.

Sherwood and his party decided to leave without throwing a punch, the lawsuit claims.

Elkins followed the party out and began punching Sherwood. Jones and the others are accused of joining in on the attack on Sherwood and his companion Tomasz Stacha.

Both Sherwood and Stacha sustained serious injuries and were taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Sherwood suffered a broken leg so serious that the bone stuck out of his leg, a hole in his esophagus and multiple fractures to his face, among other injuries.

Sherwood underwent surgery that required installation of metal bolts and plates in his broken leg.

Cavanagh said in a telephone interview that Giovanni and Jeffrey Rodriguez were arrested the night of the crime and fingered Elkins and Jones in the crime.

"We have body cams of interrogations showing the Rodriguezes outed the CPD sergeant and the Oak Park officer by name," Cavanagh tells Wednesday Journal.

Oak Park spokesman David Powers said in a telephone interview that Jones was put on paid leave on Oct. 18 pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

He noted that Jones is a probationary officer, hired by the police department in January and sworn in on the first week of June.

"All officers are probationary officers for 18 months," Powers said.

* This article was updated to correct the spelling of Timothy Cavanagh's name.

tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Wes Gathings  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 7:25 PM

While it does not look favorable on the first glance, what does these days, the idea the people already "know" it's a hate crime (when it's clear all parties were patronizing a gay bar) and "know" the Chicago cop "sounds like an absolute thug" bothers me. Whenever we know the person or like them we think the first reports are out of character and everything but accurate. When we don't know the people involved our hands are full of stones and we can't decide which one to cast first. I have what I think is a fact: none of us opinionated people were witnesses and none of us know what actually happened. A bar/cub isn't exactly a weird place for alcohol, fighting and chaos. I don't approve of it but I do know I have no idea what occurred that night.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 10:58 AM

@ Alice - from reading the Trib article on this, it was gay men beating up other gay men at a gay club. So probably not able to call it a hate crime. It is amazing that the off duty Chicago cop is still on the job, he sounds like an absolute thug. If this Oak Park cop was part of the attack, no way he should be on our police force. Violent cops are super scary to have around.

Alice Caputo  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 9:09 AM

If the victim is a heterosexual, Christian white male it's not a hate crime by law.

Rob Ruffulo  

Posted: November 6th, 2018 7:14 AM

This is a hate crime. Should be terminated.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: November 1st, 2018 6:29 PM

No. My editing error. The Chicago police sergeant is 44. Will make the correction.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 1st, 2018 6:23 PM

Jones is aged 44?

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