Washington Park police officer charged with battery, misconduct after altercation with 19-year-old with autism
WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (KMOV) -- A 33-year-old Washington Park Police Officer has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct in an incident involving a 19-year-old with special needs. Prosecutors allege the officer punched the teen in the face and tased him multiple times after responding to a dispute at the teen’s home.
Court documents in the case against the officer, Justin D. Gaither, allege he punched teenager Larry Shaw twice in the face, hit him in the head and tased him while he was on an ambulance gurney, and tased him two other times in the torso. The criminal complaint against Gaither lists two counts of official misconduct and four counts of aggravated battery, all felonies.
Gaither’s home address is listed in Granite City. A warrant for his arrest was issued Monday. He turned himself into authorities and is currently out on bond.
The FBI and Illinois State Police started an excessive use of force investigation after the March 19 incident at Shaw’s home in the 4400 block of Bunkum Road in Washington Park. News 4 previously covered the story of Shaw reportedly calling police after becoming agitated with his family. His family confirmed he frequently calls the police when he’s upset, and the authorities can sometimes calm Shaw down.
Shaw said an officer who the family is familiar with responded alone on March 19 and quickly escalated the situation, resulting in Shaw being placed in handcuffs and the East St. Louis Police Department and medics later responding to the scene.
The Washington Park Police Department requested the excessive use of force investigation from the Illinois State Police on the same day of the altercation.
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