LITTLE VILLAGE — A protester charged with felony aggravated assault of a police officer on Monday is being held on $10,000 bond.
Alexander Cachinero-Gorman, who is originally from Spain but resides in Little Village, appeared in Cook County Criminal Court at 26th Street and California Avenue Wednesday afternoon, days after he allegedly struck an officer with a stick during a protest near the court complex.
Cachinero-Gorman and around 50 others were gathered Monday in support of prisoners in jail, according to friend and fellow activist, Sarah Rhee, who was also present at the demonstration.
A small group of friends who attended Cachinero-Gorman's hearing deny that the 23-year-old struck the officer as alleged.
"The cops attacked the protestors the way I saw it," Rhee said. "It's ironic that while we were protesting, one of our comrades gets railroaded."
After chanting, marching and "banging on pots and pans" near the Cook County courthouse complex around 7 p.m. Monday, protesters walked south to 31st Street, where they began to take pictures and shake the fence around the jail's pre-release center, according to Frank Bilecki, spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff's department.
Detainees heard the protesters attempts to get their attention and came to their windows, which further excited the protesters, Bilecki said.
After officers responded by placing themselves between the protesters and the fence in an attempt to stop the protesters, Cachinero-Gorman swung a large flagpole made out of a tree branch, hitting one officer below the eye, Bilecki said.
He then tried to run away but was arrested, according to police.
"This is a common charge at protesters," said Adesina Clay, an activist who attended Cachinero-Gorman's hearing. "Cops go on the offensive and protestors are charged with aggravated battery."
She added: "Whether it happened or not, it was by no means intentional on Alex's part."
The officer who was allegedly struck is fine and continued his shift, Bilecki said. No one else was hurt in the incident.
Cachinero-Gorman's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 8. An online fund to pay his bail and legal fees had reached the minimum amount required for bail as of Wednesday afternoon.