BELMONT CRAGIN — Weeks after police were caught on tape violently dragging a 25-year-old Black woman from her car on the West Side, her attorney is demanding the city drop criminal charges against her.
Mia Wright was charged with disorderly conduct in the aftermath of the May 31 incident, during which several officers rushed her car outside of Brickyard Mall, broke the windows and pulled her and four people out.
Several bystanders filmed the encounter, which showed Wright being dragged from the car by her hair and pinned to the ground. Attorney Nenye Uche said the attack has left Wright nearly blind in one eye.
Uche said he sent a letter to the Mayor’s Office and the city Corporation Counsel Mark Flessner demanding the charges against Wright be dropped. Uche hopes city officials are moved by their consciences after seeing the video and will drop the case so Wright can begin to heal.
“She’s being fined for being a victim and a survivor of police brutality,” Uche said.
The violent encounter occurred as peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd gave way to widespread looting and property destruction throughout the city.
Wright had gone to the Brickyard Mall, 2600 N. Narragansett Ave., to shop for a birthday celebration only to discover the mall was closed. She was in the car with her cousin and three other people heading home when, without warning, 10 or more officers swarmed the car, screaming profanities and beating their batons on the windows.
Wright said she struggled to breathe and feared for her life while an officer forced her to the ground and knelt on the back of her neck.
Glass from one of the shattered car windows became embedded in Wright’s eye. She was denied medical attention for over an hour after she was arrested, she said.
Wright said her right eye may be permanently damaged from the glass. She is doing physical therapy and counseling to recover from the emotional and physical trauma from the incident.
“I never would have thought something like that would happen to me,” Wright said.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has launched an investigation. Two officers involved in the incident have been placed on desk duty.
Uche said often when victims of police violence take their case to court, it is the victim’s word against an officer’s. But since the entire incident was caught on tape, Uche has no doubt a judge will dismiss the charges.
“You’re asking her to pay for being a victim of police brutality. That’s really outrageous. … The videos make it clear that the car she’s in wasn’t engaged in any looting. There was no resistance,” Uche said. “Really to me, it says you’re trying to instill fear and chaos.”
Uche said putting two of the officers on desk duty is just the beginning of justice. Several other officers on the scene turned a blind eye to the brutality as it unfolded, and they too should be held accountable, Uche said.
Uche said he is exploring options to demand restitution from the city for Wright and her family to compensate her for medical bills, counseling, physical therapy and the suffering they endured.
Police Department officials declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation.
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.
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