Cop suspended for fight files claim

Samuel Rosario, the Springfield police officer charged with official misconduct and battery after fighting a man while on duty in February, has filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, claiming that he is the victim of discrimination by the city.

The city placed Rosario on unpaid leave in February, immediately after challenging Robert Humes to a fight, then getting the better of Humes in the ensuing altercation, which was captured by the officer’s body camera (“Blow By Blow,” March 21, 2017). After the incident, Humes greeted Rosario as a friend when the officer re-visited Humes’ home and apologized (“You’ve Always Got Respect Down Here,” April 3, 2017).  When department investigators later interviewed Humes, he praised the officer, saying that Rosario deserved a promotion.

Video footage of the fight between Humes and Rosario has gone viral, with papers as far away as England writing about the incident and more than one million people viewing a YouTube posting of the incident. Online commentary is is divided between people who accuse Rosario of brutality and those who say that Humes, who had argued with the officer and insulted him, deserved what he got.

Rosario is facing termination as well as a felony conviction for official misconduct and battery. His trial is scheduled for July 17.

The Illinois Department of Human Rights declined to release a copy of Rosario’s claim, saying that the matter is under investigation. However, the department confirmed that Rosario on May 22 filed a discrimination claim against the Springfield Police Department.

Springfield police officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment and an inquiry about Rosario’s current duty status.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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