Ex Elgin Cop Guilty of Beating Handcuffed Suspect

Josh Stockinger

A former Elgin police officer was found guilty Thursday of attacking a handcuffed man suspected in a New Year's Day brawl in which the officer's father was severely beaten.

Chris Darr, 32, who resigned from the Elgin Police Department June 20, was ordered to pay $500 in fines and fees and was given two years of conditional discharge, a form of probation that will force Darr to stay out of trouble or face more severe consequences.

Darr was convicted of misdemeanor battery by Kane County Judge Allen Anderson after a stipulated bench trail in which the former officer waived his right to testify or mount a defense. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge and agreed to the trial in exchange for having two counts of aggravated battery, a felony, dismissed.

Special prosecutor Charles Colburn likened the result to a "slow guilty plea."

"It's a way for the defendant to say, 'Yes, I agree the state has the evidence to convict me,'" without admitting guilt and potentially damaging a civil defense, Colburn said.

Darr and his attorney, Gary Johnson, declined to comment as they left the courtroom.

According to prosecutors, the seven-year police veteran was off duty and driving near Elgin's Holiday Inn on Airport Road early New Year's Day when he learned his father Jack Darr, a security guard at the hotel and former deputy police chief in Elgin, had been severely injured while trying to break up a fight involving at least nine people.

At the scene, colleagues told the younger Darr that a suspect, Kevin Schwartz of South Elgin, was detained in a squad car a couple of blocks away, Colburn said.

Darr then went to the squad and climbed in, telling Schwartz: "If you're gonna hit the Elgin police, this is what is going to happen to you," as he threw the first punch, according to court documents.

Schwartz, who says he suffered cuts and bruises on his face and head, was originally accused of mob action in connection with the hotel melee, but prosecutors dropped the charge about a month later.

In May, Schwartz filed a federal police brutality lawsuit against Darr, the city and the department. The suit seeks at least $5 million.

Should Darr be charged with a new offense in the next two years, or violate other terms of his conditional discharge, he could be resentenced to up to a year in jail on the original battery charge, Colburn said.