'FINISH YOURSELF OFF': police sergeant and officers punished for taunting distraught man

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

YORKVILLE, Illinois -- A police sergeant was fired, and two police officers have been punished, nearly a year after they were heard on camera taunting a man during a domestic disturbance.

In the recording, two of the officers can be heard escalating the situation, and one of them is even heard encouraging the man to kill himself.

Police Chief Rich Hart, who expressed to be deeply unhappy about the incident, told WGN that the officers' behavior is unacceptable and "it does not meet the mission or the values of our police department."

Hart also explained why he took the disciplinary action against the two officers and firing one of his sergeants.

"Every officer, from day one when they're hired when they start training in the police academy, is trained in de-escalation," Hart said.

The incident took place Sept. 14, 2017 at a single-family home as police responded to a call of a domestic disturbance.

In that time, one of the officers said "he's in there banging around ma'am. He's probably destroying your property. He barricaded himself in that house."

The recording also includes the sound of the man's mother warning officers about her son's mental issues.

"He has severe PTSD," she said.

"Yeah, I understand that - we just dealt with him a couple of weeks ago ma'am. Come here. I'm not leaving until you come out," the officer responded.

Investigators identified the sergeant on the scene as Sara Klingel and one of the officers as Jeffrey Johnson.

"Come out make me move. Hey! You still live with mom. Bring it!" one of the officers said.

Authorities say that when Johnson and the others saw the man trying to strangle himself, an officer reportedly said, "Go ahead. Please. Finish yourself off."

Following the incident, Sgt. Klingel was fired, Officer Johnson was put on 30 days unpaid suspension and the third officer identified as Christopher Hayes was given a written warning.