A 41-second cellphone video captured the incident and was posted to social media.
Police say two officers approached a 29-year-old man who was drinking alcohol at a bus stop in the Chatham neighborhood. Officers said the man became "irate" and threatened them. After the man licked an officer's face and spit in his eye and mouth, the officer performed an "emergency takedown," according to officials.
The man has been identified by his mother as Bernard Kersh. Keshia Johnson said she fell to her knees after watching the video of her son.
"I was nervous. I was scared. My heart dropped. I know I automatically thought the worst. He wasn't moving," Johnson said.
She said Kersh was on his way back to their home at the time after picking up some alcoholic beverages for the family's Thanksgiving gathering.
"We were waiting to eat Thanksgiving dinner for him because he always blesses the table," Johnson said.
Johnson said she was on the phone with her son during the encounter with officers when the call suddenly ended.
"I was at a loss," she said. "I didn't know what happened to him.
Jovonna Jamison, who requested not to show her face on TV, recorded the incident.
"I was shocked. I was hysterical. I was worried. I was in fear that this gentleman wouldn't make it out alive," said Jamison.
Kersh was taken to the hospital in stable condition. He is now out of the hospital but remains in police custody.
Chicago Police said there are charges pending against the man at this time.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the use of force.
A CPD spokesman said the officer involved will be relieved of police powers, pending the review.
The use of force investigation into this incident is now being handled exclusively by the Chicago Office of Police Accountabity. We are cooperating fully & they've asked for the officer involved to be relieved of police powers pending their review. CPD concurred. pic.twitter.com/xakuIk9Dkf— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) November 30, 2019
Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded to the video, tweeting:
"While a single video does not depict the entirety of the interactions between the police and the individual, this particular video is very disturbing."
While a single video does not depict the entirety of the interactions between the police and the individual, this particular video is very disturbing.— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) November 29, 2019
COPA has commenced a full investigation into the use of force by Chicago Police Department officers near 79th & Cottage Grove (1/2).— COPA (@ChicagoCOPA) November 29, 2019
Kersh's mother said he's a father of two little girls. She said he's schizophrenic and blind in one eye.
Johnson said the officer needs to be held accountable for his actions.
"He could have died from that hit on the head," shes aid. "Thank God he is still here, but anything could have happened."
* Follow us on YouTube
* More local news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts