by Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed:
“Seeing that video was so disturbing, I cried,” Sgt. Esqueda said. “Every day, having to live with that was a hard thing.”
A police sergeant in Joliet, Illinois, has been stripped of his police powers and placed on administrative leave after he blew the whistle on the cover-up of the murder of a man who was effectively tortured to death by his fellow officers.
Community members are hailing the actions of whistleblower police Sgt. Javier “Butch” Esqueda, who was moved to reveal the grisly nature of the in-custody death of Eric Lurry, a Black man from Joliet, who was choked to death in the back of a squad car in grueling footage captured on video.
On Tuesday, protesters rallied around the Joliet Police Department calling for justice for Lurry while praising Sgt. Esqueda, a 27-year veteran of the force who has faced retaliation after breaking the code of silence regarding what he sees as the criminal actions of his colleagues, reports CBS2 Chicago.
Cop who blew whistle on death of #EricLurry is stripped of his badge. “That’s what you get,” says one source for going against the “blue wall of silence” Lurry had nose pinched shut for 98 seconds in cuffs. Police Sgt Javier Esqueda, a 27 year vet fighting for job. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/E61I1pGqcQ
— Dave Savini CBS (@davesavinicbs2) July 7, 2020
Joliet City Manager Steve Jones quit following a Tuesday City Council meeting where the brutal events surrounding Lurry’s death were discussed. During the session, Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk remarked that he had “grave concerns” over the footage and subsequent cover-up by Joliet PD.
Eric Lurry Jr., 37, was arrested in an undercover drug operation after he was allegedly found to be hiding drugs in his mouth. Police claim that he suffered a medical emergency while he was in custody before he later died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Will County coroner’s office later ruled his death to be accidental and the result of h*****, f******l, and c*****e intoxication, with Lurry having over 10 times the lethal dosage in his system.
However, the facts that emerged from video recorded in the squad car depict a far different picture.
In the video, Joliet Police Sgt. Doug May and another officer can be seen shaking a handcuffed Lurry and beating him while holding his nose shut in an attempt to force the drugs out of his mouth. Lurry was motionless as the officers held him down.
At some point, one of the officers placed his baton in Lurry’s mouth before officers shined a flashlight in his mouth and he slumped over.