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People v. Thigpen

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

October 31, 2017

TYTHIA THIGPEN, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 CR 18665 Honorable Charles P. Burns, Judge, presiding.

          HYMAN JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Neville and Justice Mason concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 After a bench trial, Tythia Thigpen was convicted of aggravated battery of a peace officer and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. On appeal, Thigpen contends that the State failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because it failed to show that he knew the victim was a police officer when he struck him with a baseball bat. Thigpen also contends that the State failed to prove that the officer's injury constituted great bodily harm.

         ¶ 2 We affirm. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the trial court's finding that Thigpen was aware that Sergio Glowacki was a police officer engaged in his duties when he struck Glowacki with the bat. Moreover, Glowacki's testimony established that his injuries reached the threshold of great bodily harm.

         ¶ 3 Background

         ¶ 4 Thigpen was tried on charges of attempted first degree murder, aggravated battery of a peace officer, aggravated battery, and resisting or obstructing a peace officer. At trial, Chicago police officer Sergio Glowacki testified that at about 12:39 a.m. on August 24, 2013, he responded to a call regarding people fighting in the 5700 block of South Winchester Avenue. He drove a marked police Tahoe that had blue Mars lights, sirens, and blue and red lettering that stated "Chicago Police." He had on his police uniform, which included his black outer protective vest with an embroidered star, and his patrol belt, which holds his handcuffs and weapon.

         ¶ 5 When Glowacki arrived, between 20 and 30 people were fighting, yelling, and shoving each other. Glowacki activated the emergency equipment, including his lights, sirens, and air horn. As people walked past his vehicle, he ordered them to leave the area. Glowacki then saw Thigpen strike a woman across the back with an aluminum baseball bat. Thigpen began randomly striking other people in the crowd with the bat.

         ¶ 6 Glowacki approached Thigpen. There was less than an arm's-length distance between them. Glowacki announced his office. He ordered Thigpen to put the bat down, but Thigpen did not comply and began walking away. Glowacki grabbed Thigpen to place him under arrest. As Glowacki attempted to place Thigpen in handcuffs, Thigpen struggled and resisted, and they both fell to the ground. Thigpen slipped out of Glowacki's grasp and stood up. Glowacki was on his hands and knees. Glowacki looked up and saw Thigpen holding the bat. Thigpen then struck Glowacki across the head with the bat using "a full baseball bat" swing.

         ¶ 7 Glowacki fell facedown, flat on the ground. He felt something hit him in the head again, and he felt several hits across the back of his vest. He tried to crawl away and radioed the code for "officer in distress." Glowacki then lost consciousness. He recalled someone asking him if he could describe the offender, and he did so. Blood gushed from his skull, and an officer put pressure on the spot. He could not recall being treated by paramedics. He next remembered being at John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital. In court, Glowacki identified a photograph of the parkway where the attack occurred and noted the "pool of blood" where he had been laying.

         ¶ 8 At the hospital, Glowacki phased in and out of consciousness. He was connected to several breathing apparatuses, and numerous tubes were going across his body. He had slight bleeding in his brain and was slightly elevated to keep the pressure off his head. He had a fractured skull and received 27 staples to close the lacerations on his head. A three-inch horizontal scar with no hair remains on the back of his head. He also suffered bruised ribs. Glowacki was hospitalized for three days.

         ¶ 9 After his release, Glowacki was unable to drive or ride in a car due to motion sickness. After he improved, he underwent four months of extensive physical therapy for his neck. He returned to work six months after the attack but still experiences occasional severe headaches.

         ¶ 10 Glowacki identified Thigpen in a lineup three days after the attack. Video from his vehicle's dashboard camera did not record the attack because it occurred off to the side. The video indicates that only 32 seconds elapsed from the time Glowacki got out of his vehicle to the time other officers arrived and the assault ended.

         ¶ 11 Melchizedek Tidwell was sitting on a front porch on Winchester Avenue when the crowd began fighting in the middle of the street. Tidwell walked to the other side of the street to get a better view. He saw a girl with a baseball bat in her hand. ...

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