VIDEO: Cops battered, pepper sprayed as they try to detain hammer attack suspect in Boystown

A Chicago police POD camera captured video of police officers being pepper sprayed and battered as they tried to arrest a man who is accused of beating a Boystown resident with a hammer during an online hook-up last weekend.

The video, provided to CWBChicago by a source, shows officers approaching 29-year-old Cedrick Johnson on the corner of Halsted and Roscoe after the victim identified him to cops around 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Johnson, wearing a red tracksuit, takes off running after noticing a sergeant moving in his direction. The sergeant and a patrolman begin chasing Johnson.

Cedrick Johnson | CPD

About 100 yards later, the sergeant drops out, apparently overcome by the effects of Johnson’s pepper spray. A police spokesman this weekend said the spray can then “exploded” after Johnson struck the patrolman on the head with it and punched the officer.

Video shows that officer landing a left hook, sending Johnson to the ground. Back-up officers quickly arrive and handcuff Johnson while the patrolman steps away and goes to his knees, wiping his eyes.

“The night shift in Boystown is not always easy for the police,” the video source said Wednesday evening. “This is what officers have to deal with on Halsted [Street] on a regular basis.”

One sergeant and three patrol officers involved in detaining Johnson were treated and released at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said.

Johnson, a convicted felon, is charged with eight felony counts of aggravated battery of a police officer, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm; theft; and possession of a controlled substance. Judge Arthur Willis ordered him held without bail.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, witnesses called police to the 600 block of West Aldine after a 47-year-old man was struck repeatedly in the head with a hammer during an altercation inside his home. The victim told police that he invited Johnson to his house earlier in the day via Grindr and the two spent hours having sex before the attack. After beating the man, Johnson allegedly stole the victim’s phone and other property, then fled the scene.

The victim suffered multiple “indentations of the cranium,” according to police. He was treated and released from Masonic.

Upon returning home, he learned that his stolen phone was pinging at the 7-Eleven store on the northeast corner of Roscoe and Halsted. He reported the discovery to 911 and then went to the store where he saw Johnson and alerted nearby police officers.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is