Chicago, IL – Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown is pushing to fire an officer accused of dragging a woman out of a car by her hair and kneeling on her back during a period of chaotic looting and rioting that erupted in Chicago in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The incident occurred on May 31, 2020, during a weekend that saw multiple riots and instances of looting that began in the downtown area and spread into multiple local neighborhoods, WLS reported.
“To say that that day was chaotic is an understatement to what the city experienced when full civil unrest, when this whole city was under siege for nearly 24 hours straight, in an organized effort to completely destabilize our city,” Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez later told CBS News.
According to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Mia Wright, she and her four relatives drove over to the Brickyard Mall that day to go shopping and were unaware that the mall had been shut down due to the rioting, the Associated Press reported.
They claimed they were in the parking lot when police suddenly surrounded their vehicle and shattered the windows with their batons for no reason.
One of the officers allegedly grabbed Wright by her hair and dragged her out of the car, then knelt on her neck, WLS reported.
The officer was later identified as Chicago Police Officer David Laskus.
Wright was held overnight at the police station, and it is unclear whether or not she faced any criminal charges in connection with the incident.
Police said they believed the occupants of the car were trying to break into the mall to take part in the widespread looting, according to Caroline Fronczk, an attorney representing the city.
Wright further claimed a shard of shattered glass caused by the officers busting out the car’s windows left her blinded in one eye, the Associated Press reported.
This is absolutely disgraceful!! Chicago PD surrounded Mia Wright’s car, broke its windows and arrested her – restraining an INNOCENT Black woman placing a KNEE on her NECK. Really?! This cannot keep happening in America!! #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/WyHVzIbIZd
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) June 7, 2020
The Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) concluded there was no evidence that anyone inside the vehicle was participating in the looting when they were confronted by police, CBS News reported.
Wright and her four relatives later received a $1.67 million settlement from the city after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Under the terms of the settlement, Wright received $650,000, and each of the other four occupants in the vehicle received $243,750, CBC News reported.
Superintendent Brown filed disciplinary charges against Officer Laskus earlier in June and recommended he be fired, according to the Associated Press.
The superintendent said Officer Laskus committed a total of 29 violations of CPD rules, including making a false report, using unreasonable force, engaging in an “unjustified verbal or physical altercation,” disobeying an order, violation of constitutional rights, criminal damage to property, and bringing discredit on the department, CBS News reported.
The Chicago Police Board will ultimately determine whether or not to accept Superintendent Brown’s recommendation to fire Officer Laskus, according to WMAQ.
That ruling is expected to come sometime in the next several weeks.