Former Springfield cop guilty in 2017 altercation
Jury convicts despite no victim testimony
Body camera footage proved enough to convict Samuel Rosario, a former Springfield police office, in a Sangamon County courtroom on Wednesday.
The jury convicted Samuel Rosario of official misconduct, a felony, and misdemeanor battery involving insulting or provoking behavior. The jury acquitted Rosario of a second count of battery that required proof of bodily harm, but the acquittal is a hollow victory, as the felony conviction likely will preclude Rosario from ever again working as a police officer. He was immediately suspended, then fired after the incident.
Rosario sat stone-faced through the trial, which began Tuesday and ended Wednesday afternoon with his conviction. He did not change expression when the verdict was announced after slightly more than an hour of deliberations.
Robert Humes, the victim, did not testify, and so the case hinged on body camera footage that showed Rosario challenging Humes to a fight, then pummeling him after the officer was called to Humes’ home in February 2017 to investigate a damage-to-property complaint. Humes had complained and insulted Rosario almost as soon as the officer arrived at the east side house. Video of the fight has gone viral on YouTube.
Shortly after the altercation, Rosario returned to the home and apologized. Humes responded by saying “No, no –it’s cool,” as if the officer was a friend. Humes later told command-level officers that Rosario should be promoted, with the conversation captured by a body camera, but the jury didn’t see that video. In the end, Humes’ opinion didn’t count.
“We knew it was an uphill climb,” Dan Fultz, Rosario’s lawyer said after the verdict came in.
At least nine uniformed Springfield officers sat in the courtroom Wednesday to show support for the defendant.
Contact Bruce Rushton at firstname.lastname@example.org.