Man accused of helping off-duty cop beat victims outside Anderson gay bar gets court supervision

A man accused of helping a now-resigned Chicago police sergeant beat three men outside an Andersonville gay bar in 2018 has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for a year of court supervision and community service.

Prosecutors charged cop Eric Elkins, 45, and 34-year-old Giovanni Rodriguez with three felony counts of aggravated battery each after the alleged victims said the pair battered them on a sidewalk outside @tmosphere, 5355 North Clark, around 11:25 p.m. on September 29, 2018.

But the charges weren’t filed for more than a month after the incident, so the victims went public with their story as the Chicago Police Department appeared to drag its feet.

Eric Elkins (left) and Giovanni Rodriguez were charged with battering men outside @tmosphere bar in Andersonville. | CPD; Google

A federal lawsuit filed in 2018 alleges that Elkins, Rodriguez, and two other defendants caused one victim to suffer a compound fracture of his leg while another was treated for a perforated trachea and broken facial bones.

The victims claim that the argument began when members of Elkin’s group threw limes at them inside the bar. Rodriguez is counter-suing Elkins and another defendant, claiming that they are responsible for any injuries or damages the alleged victims may have suffered.

Rodriguez has now pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct in the case, which were downgraded from aggravated battery. Prosecutors dropped four other aggravated battery charges returned by a grand jury. He will also perform 40 hours of community service.

Judge William Gamboney handled the case.

The criminal case against Elkins is still pending.

Police records show Elkins was under investigation at the time of the Andersonville attack for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy at a party in Michigan in 2015. He pleaded guilty to battery in the criminal case and received probation. Separately, Elkins was acquitted of charges that he sexually abused a male student while working security at a city high school in 2003.

According to a police spokesperson, Elkins “resigned under investigation” from the Chicago Police Department in February 2019 after nearly 20 years on the job. He had been relegated to desk duty for three years at a salary of over $100,000 due to an on-going disciplinary investigation of the Michigan incident.

Records collected by the Chicago Police Data Project show 35 complaints filed against Elkins during his career—more claims than 96% of other officers. None of the complaints was sustained, according to CPDP.

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