Court Security

Losing litigant who threw chair at defendant cop after verdict gets 5 years


A Chicago man who has a history of issues with a suburban police officer had hoped for a jury award in his favor after filing a federal civil rights suit.

But when the jury ruled in the defendant’s favor last yea,r Lavelle Watts Jr. lost it. He threw a courtroom chair at Joliet police officer Joshua Sawyer, shouting “I told you I was gonna get you, you racist pig!”and scuffled with the cop and leaped onto a bench before he was restrained by deputy U.S. marshals, the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time, relying on information from prosecutors.

A federal criminal charge resulted, and on Thursday, in the same federal courthouse, Watts was sentenced to five years for assault with a deadly weapon—the chair—the Associated Press reports.

The government had sought a 10-year term, and Watts’ lawyer had argued for two years.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed (PDF) the jury verdict in the police officer’s favor June 9.

Related coverage:

Joliet Patch: “Man Picks Fight with Joliet Cop, Ends Up in Jail”

Previous:
Ex-attorney put on probation in $500K client theft now gets 10 years for drinking, practicing law

Next:
Murder defendant has horns and 666 tattoo; picture will be shown in voir dire


We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy. Flag comment for moderator.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.