CHATHAM — A day after a Chicago Police officer was filmed body slamming a man to the ground at a Chatham bus stop, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has responded, calling the video “disturbing.”
A 41-second video shows the unidentified officer stopping a man in front of a bus shelter in the 7900 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue, grabbing him from behind by the waist and slamming him head-first into the pavement. According to police, the 29 year-old man — who had been detained for drinking alcohol in public —licked the officer’s face and spit at him before the witness began recording.
The man injured by the officer remains in critical condition at University of Chicago Hospital, police said. Charges against him are pending.
The police referred to the move as an “emergency takedown,” a move usually employed in potentially life-threatening situations. But people who have seen the video, including Englewood activist Martin Johnson, said the officer used excessive force.
“Drinking in a public place isn’t even a misdemeanor. You just get ticketed or fined,” said Johnson, a member of Residents Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.). “There’s a possibility that the officer could’ve been spit on during a conversation, and that happens when you deal with the public.”
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
When Johnson posted the video taken by Jovanna Alexis Jamison on his Facebook page Thursday evening, reaction was swift, and the video went viral.
“The response was negative toward CPD because they’ve gone too far. It wasn’t warranted, and the punishment doesn’t fit the crime,” said Martin, who led the charge to stop the use of bait trucks in under-resourced neighborhoods.
Johnson said the officer who injured the man should be put on “paid administrative leave “immediately.”
“This guy is in critical condition” Johnson said. “The guy had his back facing the officer, and his hands were up. Why not just arrest him? He’s not resisting.”
Yesterday’s incident comes two weeks after another officer-involved encounter in nearby South Shore left 34 year-old Martina Standley with a crushed leg and a traumatic brain injury. Her family is currently suing the police department for damages.
“That’s why there’s no trust between the black community and the police officers,” Johnson said. “If the police officer is looking at the black community as the bad guy, as the enemy, that means they will not fully protect us, and we know that.”
In order to rebuild that trust, Johnson said that the police must do a better job of disciplining officers who cross the line, citing the recent conviction of former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke in the Laquan McDonald case.
“If I shoot somebody, I’m expected to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and I’m asking for the same for police officers,” Johnson said. “You have to be an example of what you are enforcing.”
As viewers of the video blasted police on social media, Mayor Lightfoot took to Twitter, saying she expects COPA (Citizens Office of Police Accountability) to do a “comprehensive and expedited” investigation so that the public can get answers.
“While a single video does not depict the entirety of the interactions between police and the individual, this particular video was very disturbing,” Lightfoot tweeted.