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5-Year Term For Man Who Threw Chair At Officer

WGIL Newsroom . State News 249

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago-area man has been sentenced to five years in prison for throwing a courtroom chair at a suburban police officer just as jurors in a civil trial announced a verdict in the officer’s favor.

A federal judge sentenced 34-year-old Lavelle Watts for assault with a dangerous weapon – in this case, the chair. Thursday’s sentencing occurred in the same Chicago building as last year’s furniture-throwing incident.

Watts sued Joliet Police Officer Joshua Sawyer for allegedly violating his civil rights during a 2009 arrest. As jurors’ decision was announced, Watts launched the chair at Sawyer, cutting his arm. Watts also screamed, “Now we’re even!”

Prosecutors wanted a 10-year sentence; the defense asked for two. Watts’ attorney, Molly Armour, says she’s “disappointed” in the 5-year term but “relieved” it wasn’t 10.

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