A Cook County public defender has been charged with battery and resisting arrest for allegedly choking a county prosecutor Thursday morning as a courtroom disagreement spilled into a hallway.
, 47, is charged with one felony count each of aggravated battery on a public way and resisting arrest, according to Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Around 10:30 a.m., Cook County Sheriff's deputies broke up the fight in the hallway on the sixth floor at the courthouse at 26th and California.
The assistant state's attorney and public defender had been arguing in Judge Clayton Crane's courtroom. The two disagreed over when to set the next court date
on a post conviction hearing for convicted murderer Derrick Neal.
The prosecutor "left the courtroom and was in the hallway when the public defender came up to him and resumed the argument. That led to a physical fight where the public defender had to be pulled off of the state's attorney
,'' Cook County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Patterson said in a statement. It took two deputies to separate the men, he said.
When deputies attempted to break up the fight, Hams was on top of the victim choking him with both hands around his neck, Patterson said. When one of the two deputies attempted to pull Hams off the victim, Hams continued choking the victim with one hand and attempted to resist the deputy's efforts with his other hand.
Hams allegedly put the prosecutor in a "choking headlock,'' police said. The public defender allegedly told a bystander he did it because he was "sick of him mocking him," the bystander said.
Someone called 911 from the courthouse at 11:09 a.m. and the victim was taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai, police said. A sheriff's deputy also suffered a minor injury.