The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating an incident in which a man was tased while recording officers making a traffic stop at a gas station in the city’s Little Village neighborhood.
The incident, which was captured on cell phone video by 30-year-old Angel Ramirez’s wife Anna Morentin, occurred at a gas station on July 3. Ramirez was recording a traffic stop, in which two people were arrested, on his phone, and his wife was recording in another vehicle.
“I was recording, then the officer told me to step back,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez complied with the officer’s directive, but the situation quickly spiraled out of control.
“The officer approached me, started following me, and put his hands over my phone,” he said.
Ramirez then backed up to his car, where he says police pepper sprayed him and deployed a taser before he fell to the ground.
“I was afraid for my life,” he said.
Ramirez’s wife and three children were also at the scene, and watched the incident unfold.
“My son said ‘they’re killing my daddy!’” Ramirez said. “That’s the worst feeling a father can have.”
Ramirez is facing obstruction of justice charges and resisting arrest, according to the Chicago Police Department.
In a statement, COPA said that it has opened a preliminary investigation into the incident.
“Although COPA does not investigate all taser discharges, we will review the incident to determine if it is within our jurisdiction or if the case will be referred to the Bureau of Internal Affairs,” the statement said.
The Chicago Police Department also issued a statement, saying that while citizens are allowed to record on-duty police officers “where there is no expectation of privacy,” officers are authorized to take “reasonable action” in order to secure a scene.
“We take the safety of citizens and officers very seriously. Anyone is allowed to record an on-duty law enforcement officer where there is no expectation of privacy. However, a law enforcement officer is also authorized to take reasonable action in order to secure a scene, ensure the safety of other officers and arrestees, and to maintain order during the commission of their particular duties.”
Ramirez will be back in court next month, according to authorities.