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Beaten officer: 'Anywhere you think you're safe, you're really not'

A Chicago police officer who stands at 6 feet and weighs more than 200 pounds, Jimmy Sherlock said he didn't think twice about riding a bike through the South Loop around midnight.

"I'm not huge but I'm usually not too worried about being messed with too bad," said Sherlock.  Besides, he was just blocks from a police station.

But as he pedaled down the 2000 block of South State Street around 12:15 a.m. on June 29, someone hit him in the back of the head and knocked him out cold.

"I just had my guard down," Sherlock said. "Somebody came from behind. I wasn't really expecting it. I see this stuff all this time. . . But it pissed me off being a victim.

"I just remember seeing a group at about 20th and State and. . .I don't remember anything after that," said Sherlock, whose father, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were all Chicago police officers.

But there's plenty to remind him: Hearing loss in his left ear, a broken collarbone, shoulder blade and rib, and an injured arm.

"It's going good," Sherlock said. "Each day is better."

Sherlock had just left the second game of a long White Sox doubleheader early with a friend. He said goodbye to his father, Detective James Sherlock, who was working at the game, and left. Both he and his friend were on bicycles.

They rode for a while but split up, Sherlock heading to his South Loop home. According to a police report, three men in their 20s struck Sherlock in the back of the head with a blunt object while he rode his bicycle, knocking him out.

Sherlock's gut tells him none of those three hit him, and there was fourth attacker behind him whom he didn't see.

When he came to, his iPhone 4S and bright blue and white racing bike were gone, the report said. "It took me a long time to realize I'd been robbed," he said, explaining that he at first thought he might have been in a car accident.

"The next thing I remember, I was walking away from that spot and just thinking something really bad happened," he said.

He stumbled into the Central District police station, about two blocks away at 1718 S. State St., and started making calls. One was to his father, who saw a call coming from a number he recognized, the Central District station.

"He made no sense at all," said his father. "I asked, 'Why are you calling me from the police station, are you in trouble?' I left the job and flew over there."

Jimmy Sherlock, meanwhile, was still struggling to get his bearings. "I really don't remember being there. . .I was making phone calls to people for help."

When James Sherlock saw his son, the left side of his body was limp and he had a bloody nose. His son was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Soon father and son began to piece together what happened. Jimmy Sherlock said the iPhone had made it to 130th Street and the Bishop Ford Freeway when it was apparently turned off.

His wallet, which contained his police identification card, was still in the lower pocket of his cargo pants, where he'd also managed to tuck two new Sox T-shirts he'd purchased for him and his fiancée Brianne. "It was stuffed in there pretty good. You could tell they tried to pull it out," he said.

Jimmy Sherlock said the robbers did not take his police badge because it was tucked in his waistband and "they probably didn't see it."

"He did not have his weapon. . .thank God," his father added.

No arrests have been made, but the police department said the case remained under "active investigation."

"There's not much going on with it. There's no video, no witnesses," his father said of the investigation.

Jimmy Sherlock said the incident taught the six-year veteran cop a lesson.

"Anywhere you think you're safe, you're really not. I thought I was in a good area," he said.

"They could have easily killed me if they hit my artery," he said. "To kill me for a few things you could buy from a garage sale. . .There's no respect for life out there."

But Jimmy Sherlock said he's not going to change his lifestyle. "I'm not going to let them make me scared."

Police asked that anyone with information call Area Central detectives at 312-747-8484.

rsobol@tribune.com
Twitter: @RosemarySobol1

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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