A Chicago school security officer charged with pushing a female student down the stairs was found not guilty Tuesday, officials said.
“I was totally devastated,” said the student’s mother Pershaun Goodlow. “Having to rehash that moment, watching that video over and over and over again, I was devastated that someone would find this guy to be not guilty.”
The incident, which took place in May at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, was captured on cell phone video, and showed the employee being aggressive with a student.
The video was first published to the website WorldStarHipHop.com with the title "Caught On Cell Phone: Chicago School Security Guard Pushes Female Student Down Staircase & Then Decks Her In The Face For Allegedly Putting Hands On Him!" In it, 16-year-old Lauren Goodlow is seen lying on the floor. She was approached by a woman who appears to be a teacher or administrator at the South Side school. Goodlow then stood up and moves toward the guard. The guard appears to punch Goodlow in the face.
“As a lawyer, I am shocked and disgusted, and as a father and a parent, I’m appalled,” said former prosecutor Mark Sutter, who is representing the family.
Sutter said the verdict was reached in a bench trial Tuesday but noted the family is in “reasonable discussions” regarding civil damages with the City of Chicago, CPS, and the security guard.
“If this is normal and acceptable and this is justifiable behavior -- and a not guilty sends a message that acting like this is OK -- our kids are in a lot of trouble,” he said.
Goodlow’s mother, speaking at a press conference Wednesday, said Lauren Goodlow is still in physical therapy after she suffered injuries to her head, neck, shoulder, lower back, wrist and knee.
“If we can’t get the case resolved, certainly there’s going to be some litigation,” Sutter said.