Two Chicago police officers standing near their squad car, with two men handcuffed in the back seat, claimed to see nothing.

But onlookers saw so much that they called 911 and also later recounted a horrifying scene to investigators. They described how the police car shook as a man — an off-duty sergeant, as it turned out — reached in and repeatedly punched one of the arrestees.

Just feet away, the uniformed officers did not stop him.

“This is, this is, this is unbelievable,” one witness told 911 as he reported the incident in the early morning hours in Wrigleyville, according to a transcript of the call.

This was almost nine years ago. And while police officials moved to fire the off-duty sergeant and he is no longer on the force, the two other officers have yet to serve 30-day suspensions.

Stack that on top of IPRA’s notoriously slow-moving investigations, and it’s not unusual for allegations of wrongdoing to linger for six or seven years without resolution. The police-investigation-to-time-served slog is more than an administrative foible. When the process takes too long, it fails in its main purpose, Angelo said.

“Discipline is designed to adjust behavior. If it’s not timely … then the behavior continues,” Angelo said. “Where’s the adjustment to my behavior and the benefit of discipline? Who wins there? Nobody.”

Nor does the delayed discipline soothe victims of police misconduct.

Nelson Sada and Daniel Gonzalez have been waiting for years to find out what happened to the officers they encountered in Wrigleyville in 2008.

Sada and Gonzalez were walking along North Clark Street in the early morning hours on June 12, after Gonzalez finished his job as a bar back at the John Barleycorn restaurant. The pair got in a fight with off-duty Sgt. Robert Murray, and officers Keneipp and Murillo responded. They cuffed Sada and Gonzalez and put them in the backseat of their squad car. Then Murray reached into the back of the car and repeatedly punched Gonzalez in the face, records show.

“This occurred as the two arresting officers watched and did nothing,” Sada told investigators, according to a summary of his IPRA interview.

“I actually went into labor a few days later. That’s how bad it stressed me out. To call someone the N-word. Who says that?” said Gatz, who did not know that Mansor was disputing the order to serve a suspension. “I was wondering what happened with this officer. It seems odd that nothing happened.”

The grievance sat until the union’s Angelo said Thursday that the FOP pushed the case forward for a potential settlement.

Gatz continues to wait. And she hasn’t been back to the dog park since.

jrichards@chicagotribune.com | Twitter: @jsmithrichards

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