Chesterton Tribune

Battery charge dismissed against South Shore conductor

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A charge of battery filed against a South Shore conductor last year, after a passenger alleged being pushed off a stopped train at Dune Park Station, has been dismissed by the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Acevedo told the Chesterton Tribune today that earlier this week he dismissed the battery charge against Gregory G. Beach after reviewing an enhanced video, shot inside the train, of the events which transpired in the early morning hours of March 28, 2009.

Passenger Calvin J. Kirk had alleged that Beach pushed him off the top train steps, causing him to sustain loose teeth, cuts, and abrasions.

Some months after the incident, following interviews with Beach and the investigating Transit Police officer as well as a review of two separate video tapes—one shot from outside the train, one from within—the decision was made to charge Beach with one count of battery, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, Acevedo said.

Beach denied all wrongdoing and maintained instead that Kirk was intoxicated that night—Transit Police said that Kirk registered a blood alcohol content of .194 percent and tested positive for cocaine—and simply missed the steps when exiting and fell to the ground.

But Acevedo said today that a review of an enhanced version provided by Vouga of the video shot inside the train—actually, shot from an adjacent car into the car in which Kirk had been riding—suggests that Kirk may in fact have fallen as Beach said.

“In my mind it certainly gave me reason to doubt whether Mr. Kirk was pushed,” Acevedo said.

He added that the original un-enhanced video “wasn’t the best but that’s what we had at the time and coupled with everything else we decided to file the case.”

“The enhanced video shows conclusively that Mr. Beach never laid a finger on Mr. Kirk,” Vouga told the Tribune today. “The Prosecutor’s Office did the right thing by dismissing the case. Justice has been served. Mr. Beach is an innocent man, always was.”

Posted 2/12/2010