Rockford police union ‘disappointed’ in battery charges against police officer

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford police union released a statement on Monday challenging the battery charges filed against Officer Frank Fabini in the arrest of protester William Gettings.

The Police Benevolent and Protective Association Unit said it was “disappointed to learn of the charges…in light of the fact that there has been no investigation to our knowledge.

“In our early review of the video footage, the officer appeared to act within his training, provided multiple lawful orders which were refused, and – based on the actions of the individual – used reasonable force to subdue the individual when he resisted.”

Gettings (aka “Sage”) was arrested Saturday. According to the police report, Gettings yelled something at Fabiani as he passed his squad car. Fabiani then turned around and followed Gettings, and then pulled him over when he allegedly failed twice to use a turn signal.

While Fabiani was checking Gettings license and registration, the criminal complaint alleges Gettings got out of the car and refused commands to get back in the vehicle, at which point Fabiani apparently tackled him to the ground.

The complaint alleges that Gettings was combative and spat on an officer as they wrestled him to the ground, at which point he said, “I’m grabbing your gun,” and placed his hand on the grip of the an officer’s weapon.

Gettings was subsequently taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries suffered during the struggle, according to the written complaint.

His mugshot shows Gettings with a bandage on his forehead and bruising around his swollen eye.

Photo: Winnebago County Jail

He was charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Battery to a Police Officer, Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer, and Resisting a Police Officer.

The charges against Gettings were dropped following a motion filed Monday by the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office after video from the squad car was reviewed.

Fabini has been charged with misdemeanor Battery, and is scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. on August 13th.

“We will hold ourselves accountable, whether or not there is protesting,” Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea said at a press conference on Monday.

“We are fully supportive of high standards for and accountability of our officers,” said union president Vince Kelly. “As we have in the past, we would demand appropriate disciplinary action if this were a case of an officer acting inappropriately. However, we have real concerns regarding this situation. It lacks the transparency and due process upon which our justice system is founded. The video has not been released and there has been no investigation that we were made aware of. We are confident that when the video is made public, it will be clear that this was a routine traffic stop that escalated due to the uncooperative nature of the driver and the officer acted within his training.”

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