A jury took two hours to find a former Joliet cop not guilty of beating a woman while on duty.
"I do honestly believe this jury, it sends a message that we're not going to convict police officers of felonies when they're just doing they're job," defense attorney Jeff Tomczak said after the jury acquitted Thomas O'Connor of charges of aggravated battery and battery.
Even though he beat the case, O'Connor, 37, lost his job with the Joliet Police Department. O'Connor's civil attorney, John Partelow, said he will try to get his job back.
Video played during the trial showed O'Connor punching 43-year-old Shantique Jackson in the head more than a dozen times while trying to handcuff her in February 2012.
Jackson had called 911 to complain about her boyfriend, 48-year-old Anthony Layne, allegedly "putting his hands on" her the day before.
Jackson testified during the trial that on the night of the beating she had called Layne's room at the Star Inn in Joliet but a woman answered the phone. She drove to the West Jefferson Street motel and banged and kicked Layne's door but he did not answer, she said, so she called the police.
After O'Connor arrived, Layne opened up and called Jackson a "disgruntled ex," said Jackson, who admitted to rushing up and kicking her boyfriend in the leg. O'Connor testified that he went to take her into custody but she resisted his attempts to handcuff her.
O'Connor also testified that when Jackson called 911, she told the dispatcher that Layne was a convicted murderer.
Tomczak stressed to the jury that O'Connor was alone at the Star Inn, which he called a "seedy hotel," and was concerned about Layne or possibly someone else coming after him while he was trying to handcuff Jackson.
After he was acquitted, O'Connor expressed his gratitude to the jury, his family and friends for supporting him, and to Tomczak and his other attorney, Dan Rippy.
"I'm just glad the jury recognized what a difficult and dangerous job police officers have, and that they returned a not guilty verdict," Rippy said.