Judge sets high bond for man who spit on Chicago cop, then was body-slammed

A man who was body-slammed after allegedly spitting on a Chicago police officer in late November likely will remain in custody after picking up a new felony charge for allegedly striking a store manager.

Bernard Kersh, 29, should be kept in Cook County Jail and treated for mental health issues given the violent nature of the charges he faces and his allegedly spotty history of complying with bond conditions, Judge Erica Reddick ruled Monday.

Kersh was charged with aggravated battery after he allegedly spit on the undisclosed officer, prompting the officer to hurl him to the pavement Nov. 28. Video capturing the scene — apparently shot by a bystander — was circulated widely online.

Kersh was released in early December after community members put up the $500 to pay his initial bail, according to his attorney, Sami Azhari.

Bernard Kersh, 29, was charged with felony aggravated battery to a peace officer and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, assault, and drinking alcohol on the public way. (Chicago Police Department)

On Jan. 23, he was arrested again, this time for hitting a Jewel-Osco manager who tried to stop him from stealing tequila and a bouquet of flowers, prosecutors said Monday. He was charged with aggravated battery and retail theft, records show.

Azhari sought Kersh’s release so he could receive mental health treatment, but the judge ordered he remain in custody on the $100,000 bond and undergo treatment in jail.

“There is an issue that requires mental health intervention immediately,” Reddick said. “He does need to be stabilized and maintained.”

The judge acknowledged that Kersh likely would be unable to post the $10,000 needed to be released but said she ordered the high bond so Kersh could avoid the “stigma” of being held without bail.

The Nov. 28 encounter began as a routine patrol stop when two plainclothes officers driving in an unmarked squad car observed Kersh drinking vodka at a bus stop in the Chatham neighborhood, prosecutors said.

Kersh allegedly spit in one officer’s face after he had taken away his bottle of vodka while preparing to write Kersh a ticket for drinking on the public way, authorities have said.

*story by the Chicago Tribune