BELMONT CRAGIN — City prosecutors dropped a disorderly conduct charge brought against Mia Wright, the Black woman who Chicago Police officers kneeled on and violently arrested outside the Brickyard Mall in May, her attorney said Tuesday.
Wright and her cousins were driving through the mall’s parking lot when a group of at least 10 police officers rushed the car, Wright said. The officers began shouting profanities, beating their batons against the car and smashing the windows.
The arrest was captured on video, and multiple clips show police pulling her from her car by her hair and slamming her to the ground. One officer is shown holding Wright to the ground by kneeling into the back of her neck — the same maneuver that resulted in the death of George Floyd.
“It was horrible,” Wright said. “It was a moment I was scared for my life.”
Glass from the shattered car windows got stuck in Wright’s eye, and she had to wait at least an hour for medical attention. Wright was left partially blind by the injury and said she needs physical therapy and counseling to move past the trauma from the assault.
“She was extraordinarily traumatized by this. I don’t know if she will ever heal,” said Nenye Uche, a civil rights attorney representing Wright.
Wright was not the one driving, she did not resist arrest, and none of the others in the car were arrested, as shown by the video clips.
Chicago Police and the city’s Law Department did not respond to questions about why Wright was charged with disorderly conduct or why the charge was dropped.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office was not involved in this case, a spokeswoman said.
Wright’s attorney described the charge as an outrageous attempt to punish the young woman for being a survivor of police brutality. Uche said he suspects that of the five people in the car, Wright was targeted to shift blame onto her because she was the most severely injured and needed medical attention.
“She happened to be the one in need of an ambulance, in need of going to the hospital. To me that’s why they arrested her,” Uche said.
Around the time of Wright’s arrest, some businesses in and around Brickyard Mall had been looted amid the uprisings following the murder of George Floyd. But Wright said she and her cousins weren’t doing anything illegal, and the dropped charge vindicates her.
At least three officers involved were temporarily relieved of police powers as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates allegations of excessive use of force. The office declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
Wright is relieved the nightmare of being prosecuted after her attack is finally over, Uche said.
“But that’s not enough for her. What we saw on that video was rotten. To say rascality would be putting it mildly,” he said.
Chicago Police are not above the law, and need to be held accountable for the attack so incidents like this don’t happen again, Uche said. His client is seeking financial restitution for the trauma and longterm impacts of the attack.
Wright was training to become an EMT, but due to the permanent disability she is now living with, she may not be able to be employed in the field, Uche said.
The attorney plans to send a letter to the city demanding mediation. If the effort is not successful, Uche is prepared to file a lawsuit on Wright’s behalf.
“My client wants the officers disciplined,” Uche said. “She has to be compensated.”
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.
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