NAACP president cites racism as officers convicted in Nathan Bill's case get no jail time
The head of Springfield's NAACP said he finds racism in a sentence of no jail time for two police officers convicted of assault and battery.
The Republican newspaper reports the sentences were handed down Wednesday by Judge Mark Mason in the case in which off-duty officers were accused of beating four Black men outside Nathan Bill's bar, in 2015.
The two officers, Daniel Billingsley and Christian Cicero, were given suspended sentences and probation for misdemeanor convictions.
Bishop Talbert Swan, president of Springfield's NAACP, is outraged.
"The fact that this case resulted in officers being acquitted and the ones who were convicted not spending a day in jail has everything to do with the fact that the perpetrators of the crime were white and the victims of the crime were Black," Swan said Thursday.
The two officers remain suspended from their jobs until the city's new Board of Police Commissioners decides whether or not to fire them.
Joseph Gentile, president of Springfield's police union, did not respond to a request for comment.
Additional officers charged in the case, for both the assault and alleged cover-up, have yet to be tried. Nine others, according to The Republican, have been acquitted or had their charges dismissed.