A Cook County judge unleashed on a man who appeared before him Tuesday on allegations of battering a cop during a traffic stop and speeding away from the scene. And the lecture he handed down should be required reading for anyone who steps foot in a car.
Judge John Lyke was almost finished with a routine and uneventful felony bond court session when a 25-year-old man was brought before him on multiple counts of aggravated battery to police and resisting arrest.
A prosecutor told Lyke that two cops pulled the man over for running a red light and asked him to step out of his car. Instead, the man allegedly rolled his window up on one of the officer’s arms and drove off as the cop’s partner shattered the window to free the first cop.
The man later punched a police sergeant at the station lock-up, prosecutors said.
“I gave [the first officer] all of my credentials. After that, she asked me to get out,” the man said after being warned not to speak about his case in open court. “She went into my vehicle. I felt very scared…I got scared and that’s why I fled.”
“I’m going to stop you from just truly burying yourself,” Lyke interjected on the Zoom hearing. “I’m going to mute you now.”
And then it was on.
“Let me explain something to you and a lot of people,” Lyke began.
“I understand your fear, trust me. I get it,” said Lyke, who is Black. “However the United States Supreme Court as well as the Illinois Supreme Court have said if a police officer asks you to get out of the car — irrespective of if you think it’s right or wrong — YOU GOTTA GET OUT.”
“Here I am. I’m a judge and I probably know the law better than 99.9% of the people on this planet and if an officer stops me for whatever reason, asks me for my ID and I give it to him and my insurance — and in fact it happened to me about a month ago — you know what I did? I gave him my license and my insurance. He ran it. He came back. He said, ‘Sir step out of the car.’”
“You know what I did? I didn’t start questioning him — ‘Hey! Whatchu doing? What am I doing here?’ Nah. I got myself out of the car.”
“Walk to the back,” the cop told Lyke.
“You know what I did? I walked to the back.”
“You know what he did? He searched me. Was that a legal search? Hmmmm. I don’t know,” Lyke said with more than a little skepticism in his voice. “I don’t know what he had on his mind. But I didn’t resist it. He searched me and says, ‘Mr. Lyke, alright, have a good day.’”
“Did I kick and scream? No. Did I start quizzing him, ‘Why you want me to get out of the car?’ No. Because I know the Supreme Court said, [if police] say get out the car, YOU GOTTA GET OUT.”
“You’re never gonna win on the street. Never. You gotta come to court. And if you think the officer’s wrong, that’s where you air your grievances out. Not on the street. Because only bad things can happen.”
“Luckily for both of you — the officers as well as you — nothing truly that bad happened where someone got seriously hurt.”
Lyke then set bail for the man, who has no criminal record, at $1,000 and ordered him to report regularly to a pre-trial services officer.