Illinois Police Sergeant Put On Administrative Leave For Exposing Fellow Officers Who Choked A Man To Death In Their Squad Car

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Illinois Police Sergeant Put On Administrative Leave For Exposing Fellow Officers Who Choked A Man To Death In Their Squad Car

A police sergeant has been stripped of his police powers and put on administrative leave after he blew the whistle on a man who appeared to be tortured to death by other officers.


Sgt. Javier "Butch" Esqueda, of Joliet, Illinois, revealed that a black man from the same town was choked to death in the back of a police car while he was held in custody. Much of the incident was captured on disturbing body-cam footage.



It is believed that the sergeant gained unauthorised access to the footage and handed it over to CBS2 news channel after the death of Eric Lurry Jr. aged 37, was deemed the result of intoxication by the coroner's office. A conclusion the sergeant obviously disagreed with or had serious doubts about.


Lurry had been arrested during a drugs bust and had put drugs into his mouth to avoid detection. It is claimed by the coroner and the police department that the drugs had opened in their packaging and killed Lurry via an overdose. The coroner even said he had 10 times the lethal dosage in his system.


In the video, officers can be seen holding the suspect's nose shut and beating him, in order for him to spit out the drugs he was hiding.



The sergeant said:


"He was suffocating. In my opinion, anybody would suffocate in that situation."


The video did not see the light of day for 5 months, and the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal investigation, before the sergeant managed to release the video to the press.


He went on to say:


"There's some fear [of retaliation]. [But] when you see stuff like this, you have to come forward. You can't sit there and be quiet, because then, we're just part of the problem."


After Esqueda was placed on administrative leave, a statement was given by Joliet PD giving their reasoning for their actions against the sergeant:


"The video that was accessed was shared outside the police department, violating chain of custody and potentially evidence in the criminal matter. When this was found out on June 18 of 2020, we immediately opened a criminal investigation."


The Black Police Officers Association has said it is fully behind Esquerda's actions. They said in a statement:


"If someone's doing the right thing, we're going to stand right there with them. He's a member, and we're going to back him. Sergeant Esqueda has been held as a well-respected supervisor and United States Marine and has served his country and his community proudly. Without Sgt. Esqueda drawing attention to this death to city officials, this in-custody death may still be pending."


On Tuesday, a small group of protestors assembled in Joliet to dispute the placing of the officer on administrative leave as they believe he was in the right to reveal the footage.

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Thinking Humanity: Illinois Police Sergeant Put On Administrative Leave For Exposing Fellow Officers Who Choked A Man To Death In Their Squad Car
Illinois Police Sergeant Put On Administrative Leave For Exposing Fellow Officers Who Choked A Man To Death In Their Squad Car
A police sergeant has been stripped of his police powers and put on administrative leave after he blew the whistle on a man who appeared to be tortured to death by other officers. Sgt. Javier "Butch" Esqueda, of Joliet, Illinois, revealed that a black man from the same town was choked to death in the back of a police car while he was held in custody. Much of the incident was captured on disturbing body-cam footage.
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