A veteran Chicago police officer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery on Thursday for tasing a man who was apparently complying with his orders during a street stop in 2021.
Marco Simonetti, who joined the force in 1994, received a sentence of two years probation from Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil. The misdemeanor charge was reduced to felony aggravated battery, according to court records, and prosecutors dropped two felony counts of official misconduct.
His attorney maintained that the Taser deployment, which was recorded by Simonetti’s body camera, was unintentional.
Simonetti, now 59, was responding to a suspicious person pulling on gates when someone flagged him down and directed him to a man sitting on a porch in the 3500 block of North Normandy around 11 a.m. on August 7, 2021.
The man on the porch approached Simonetti, informed him that he lived in the house, and informed him that he had done nothing wrong. Prosecutors said Simonetti threatened to “lock him up” for lying after he said he did not have identification or a key to the house.
As Simonetti grabbed the man’s arm, the man asked, “Why are you arresting me?”
The officer replied that he was not arresting the man, who then ran toward the house.
Simonetti repeatedly warned the man that he would use the Taser, as the man claimed he did nothing wrong and went back between crouching and standing positions, prosecutors alleged.
“I’m going to tase you. Last warning!” Simonetti yelled as the man bent toward the ground, pleading with Simonetti not to use the Taser.
As the man’s hands touched the ground, Simonetti discharged the Taser. One prong struck the man’s forehead, and the other hit his left arm, causing him to fall face-first onto the walkway. He suffered head and facial injuries, including a broken nose.
Prosectors said Simonetti told a dispatcher he “had to tase him,” but stated in a written report that the discharge was accidental.
“The discharge of the Taser was absolutely unintentional and accidental, and the state’s attorney knows that,” defense attorney Jim McKay maintained during Simonetti’s initial bail hearing.
Simonetti resigned from the police department on January 15, according to a CPD spokesperson.