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”

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