Written by By Staff Writer
What may be a first is underway in the United States: Public prosecutors who have decided to reach a negotiated settlement with a defendant in order to avoid going to trial.
A collaboration between the Peoria, Illinois, state prosecutor and the Latino nonprofit Justice Alliance may be in the works in the suburb where Officer Steven McCarthy has been on unpaid leave since July.
The group’s guidelines called for the prosecution to “step down” from charges in cases in which they would encounter a civil rights violation.
RELATED: Cameras point to ‘stunning disparities’ in police response to homeless people, homeless advocates say
McCarthy “admitted that his conduct was inconsistent with that expected of an officer sworn to uphold the law” in a statement released by the organization Thursday, according to a joint statement from the City of Peoria and the Justice Alliance that day.
In exchange for dropping the charges, McCarthy is required to attend a three-day counseling session with the group.
“This case was the next logical step in the many years of work that the Peoria Police Department has done to create a culture where all officers understand their role is to support citizens of all backgrounds who are trying to be safe, to maintain their dignity, and to protect the rights of those they serve,” McCarthy’s attorney Eric Deters said in a statement.
RELATED: Pressure mounts as next wave of charges is revealed in a police-custody death
The organization helped McCarthy after he was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.
In a dash cam video captured by a passerby, McCarthy, who is white, was seen slamming Alfred Olango, an unarmed, 37-year-old Ugandan immigrant, to the ground outside a sandwich shop last July.
Olango was initially hit with a Taser, before McCarthy came upon the scene and began recording the incident.
When Olango attempted to walk away from McCarthy, the former officer jumped on him and slammed him to the ground.
RELATED: Jimmy Carter was wrong to say cops can use deadly force on people fleeing fleeing, court rules
At least four officers then arrived at the scene and began handcuffing Olango.