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McHenry father says police unjustly beat 17-year-old

Published: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 5:07 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 5:51 p.m. CST

McHENRY – A McHenry family is alleging that at least three McHenry County Sheriff officers grabbed their underage son by the hair and bashed his head against the pavement during an incident along River Road last weekend.

Police stopped the 17-year-old boy and his girlfriend while they were walking home along River Road in McHenry around 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 19, said Jerry Connor, a personal injury attorney at Albert R. Pino's Law Offices who is representing the family.

An officer handcuffed the boy and cited him for underage drinking and then called for backup, Connor said. The officer and two others proceeded to beat the 140-pound boy, who suffered a detached retina and a concussion, he said.

The boy is currently receiving medical treatment and may be suffering from permanent brain damage, he said.

Connor said he did not know what transpired between the boy and the officers before the alleged beating occurred. The family is now seeking civil damages for loss of normal life, pain and suffering and unpaid medical bills.

They also want a special prosecutor to investigate possible criminal charges against the unidentified Sheriff officers, Connor said.

"He is 17 and likely has permanent brain damage and likely won't be the same person after this incident," Connor said.

The boy's father, Tom Novak, discussed the alleged incident with reporters Friday at Pino's law office in McHenry. The family hopes to file a formal lawsuit within the coming weeks.

Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said the Sheriff's department stands by the three officers involved in the incident after officials reviewed the video and audio recording taken from the officers' squad car.

"I'm extremely confident that the professionalism of our officers will show through," Zinke said.

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