Edgeville Buzz

Two Men Sue Off-Duty Officer After Being Beaten Outside Andersonville Gay Bar

Sgt. Eric Elkins, LinkedIn

What started as a dispute inside an Andersonville Gay bar, turned into a horrible fight outside the club that left two men allegedly beaten by an off-duty Chicago Police sergeant with a spotty past on the force.  Now the men are suing and accusing the police Department of protecting the suspect, Sgt. Eric Elkins, with its “code of silence.”

The incident occurred outside Atmosphere at 5355 N Clark on September 29 after the the two victims, John Sherwood and his partner Tom Stacha, got into a verbal confrontation with the group Elkins was with. According to the victims attorney, the men decided to leave the bar and that is when they were followed out by Elkins and his friends.

After exiting the bar, two men found themselves attacked within seconds. They both sustained serious injuries, Sherwood with a compound fracture to his leg and Stacha with broken cheekbones and a perforated trachea. Witnesses reported that the suspects fled the scene in two different directions. However, two of Elkins’ friends were apprehended just a few blocks away on Balmoral.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, the two friends of Elkins were taken back to the scene of the crime where they were positively identified by a bar employee and Stacha as having taken part in the beating. The men were taken into custody and told police that they did not take part in the beating. Instead they implicated Elkins as the one that was responsible.

Both Sherwood and Stacha were taken to Weiss Memorial Hospital with serious injuries and were later transferred to the trauma center at Lakeview’s Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Sherwood underwent leg surgery the day after the incident and both are still recovering.

At the hospital, one of the couple’s friends positively identified both Elkins and his boyfriend, an Oak Park police officer, as the men responsible for the attack. Sherwood was able to only identify one of Elkins’ friends from the spread, saying the night was still a blur.

After positive identification and probable cause, Elkins has still not been charged with the crime which occurred over one month ago. The couple is now suing Elkins with a personal injury lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court. Their attorney, Timothy Cavanagh, is accusing the Chicago Police Department of protecting their own.

This is not the first time Elkins has faced serious criminal charges. He is currently on paid desk duty because of another incident in which he is accused of fondling four teenage boys while intoxicated at a 2015 fourth of July picnic in Michigan. One of those boys went to police accusing Elkins of touching his genitals. He was booked two weeks later at Ogemaw County Jail for criminal sexual conduct involving a minor and released on bond. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges of assault and battery and disorderly conduct in 2016 and received a one year probation as well as a $1200 fine.

In 2003, Elkins also faced serious charges after having a sexual relationship with 16-year old male student he met at Amundsen High School where he moonlighted as a security guard. Elkins was indicted by a grand jury and taken off the force. However, In a bench trial Cook County Judge Kenneth Wadas acquitted Elkins of all accounts saying the teen did not have good recollection of the sexual abuse and no physical evidence to back up the claim.







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