Policeman from Chicago has been charged with a hate crime attack

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A Chicago policeman Eric Etkins who beat up two gay men near a gay bar in a cruel homophobic hate crime attack last year has been charged with battery and set free on bail. 34-year-old Giovanni Rodriguez faces similar felony charges for the same attack, which took place in September last year. Both men denied accusations and filed not guilty pleas. Gay couple John Sherwood and Tomasz Stacha, the two victims who filed a lawsuit against Elkins late last year, both suffered serious injuries and multiple broken bones in the attack after which they both required hospitalization. Elkins and Rodriguez are alleged to have run away after the attack, but Elkins was later identified by the victims after they picked out his picture from a photo array. Rodriguez, a nurse practitioner from Chicago with no previous criminal record, was stopped by police after running away. When the incident took place, Elkins was on paid desk duty because of a previous sexual assault allegation. In 2016, he was charged with criminal sexual conduct involving a teenager in Michigan, but the sex charge was dropped and Elkins pleaded guilty to the smaller charge of disorderly conduct. Elkins resigned from the Chicago police force on January 31, 2019.

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