Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability has opened an investigation into an incident caught on video involving several Chicago police officers and a family claiming they were wrongfully targeted by police.
The incident unfolded on Sunday, May 31, while bystanders recorded cell phone video at the Brickyard Mall in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin neighborhood.
The video appears to show several officers swarm a vehicle in the parking lot, break the car’s windows and pull out several people.
Mia Wright, an essential worker, said after she was thrown to the ground, the officer put his knee on her neck.
“All I thought about was what happened with George Floyd. It could have been another situation like that,” Wright said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Wright’s mother and cousin were also taken out of the vehicle by police, but Wright was the only one arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Chicago police said officers observed her with three others, assembled for the purpose of using force or violence to disturb the peace.
Wright denies she did anything wrong and claims police had the wrong person.
She was also taken to a hospital after she said she was detained for 18 hours.
On Thursday, Wright’s attorney demanded a criminal investigation.
“If the individual tried to speed off, that’s a different story, but we all saw the video. They didn’t try to run,” family attorney Nenye Uche said. “Why use that kind of force if you’re not trying to provoke fear and chaos?”
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said her office is aware of the video and is currently conducting a thorough, independent review of the matter, including the conduct of the police officers involved.
On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded during a news conference at COPA headquarters.
“Of course, I have my own personal opinion about it, but I’m not going to share it because I don’t want to influence what COPA’s work is,” Lightfoot said. “They have the jurisdiction.”
COPA will identify the officers and conduct an investigation over the next several weeks to make a recommendation whether the officers will face discipline.