Source: Witness at Morrison battery trial not present when alleged attack occurred
A witness who testified at union leader Jerry Morrison’s battery trial that Morrison did not strike off-duty Chicago police officer David DiSanti in June of last year was not present when the alleged attack occurred, a source told the Chicago City Wire.
“It was just the two of them walking out of City Hall,” a source who claims familiarity with incident said, “when Morrison reached over and swatted him (DiSanti) with his umbrella. The witness was never there.”
Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. found Morrison, an SEIU executive, not guilty of misdemeanor battery on Wednesday after a 20-minute trial in the Misdemeanor Section of the Court. Panarese has a reputation in the Cook County state attorney’s office for being a defendant’s judge.
The alleged attacked occurred on June 26, 2018. DiSanti spoke that day at City Hall against a proposed housing project on Higgins Road in the O’Hare neighborhood of the city; City Council’s Zoning Committee later rejected the project.
Morrison was accused of yelling obscenities at DiSanti—including calling him a fascist—after spotting him in City Hall’s lobby and then, when DiSanti walked to the exit doors, striking him and causing “bodily harm,” according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) report of the incident.
The source said DiSanti was going to let the incident go when Ald. Anthony Napolitano of the 41st District insisted that he report it, telling him to imagine if the situation were reversed: an off-duty officer striking a union leader.
Morrison was arrested on Aug. 7. A trial scheduled for October of last year was continued and then re-scheduled for Jan. 16.
A CPD spokesperson also said that Morrison was jailed briefly in 1983 on battery charges but would not provide the circumstances.
Had he been convicted of battery, a Class A misdemeanor offense under Illinois law, Morrison could have faced up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,500.