Man body slammed by a Chicago police officer says he could feel his heartbeat in his brain

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CHICAGO — When a Chicago police officer lifted him into the air and slammed him into a cement curb on Thanksgiving, Bernard Kersh told WBBM that he "could have been killed."

"I would have rather been tased than be slammed like that," Kersh said. "Like I could feel my heartbeat in my brain."

Kersh told the station he was knocked unconscious in the incident that was captured on a widely circulated video.

"I am happy to be alive," he said. "Because I could easily not be here talking about it right now."

According to police, Kersh was stopped for drinking alcohol in public and became verbally abusive toward an officer, spitting in his face and threatening him.

A 43-second video captured by a passenger in a nearby car shows the officer wrap his arms around a man's torso, lift him up and slam him to the street on his back, but does not show the preceding events.

Paramedics were "immediately notified" after the incident, police said, and the man was taken to a hospital. He now faces charges of resisting police, simple assault and drinking alcohol in public. He was released on bond and is expected in court January 15, according to Cook County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Matt Walberg.

Kersh's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, told CNN the criminal charges against Kersh should be dropped. Stroth called the officer's technique "excessive" and "unreasonable" and said Kersh "did not present a threat to the officer."

The officer in the video and another the department says was involved have been placed on desk duty pending a review of the incident. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is conducting the use of force investigation into the incident.

The names of the officers have not been released.

"If wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable," the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.

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