A woman who was violently arrested in an incident caught on video in May at Chicago's Brickyard Mall is among five people who filed a lawsuit against the city and the officers involved, her attorney said Wednesday.
Mia Wright, along with Tnika Tate, Kim Woods, Ebony Wilbourn and Javon Hill, filed the federal complaint alleging constitutional violations after officers swarmed their vehicle outside the Brickyard Mall, smashed windows and "violently" pulled them from the car while hurling profanities and at one point kneeling on Wright's neck, the suit states.
The group had been at the mall to get items for a birthday party they were planning on May 31, but were unaware looting and protesting had brought a heavy police presence to the area, according to the complaint. Once they saw what was happening, they "decided to leave the Brickyard Mall" and followed a convoy of cars to exit.
Bystanders recording cell phone video of the scene outside the mall appeared to show multiple officers swarm Wright's vehicle in the parking lot, break the car’s windows and pull out several people. Wright was pulled to the ground by her braided hair and dragged "for at least a few feet" before an officer put his knee on her neck, according to the suit,
“All I thought about was what happened with George Floyd. It could have been another situation like that,” Wright said soon after the arrest. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Wright’s mother and cousin were also taken out of the vehicle by police, but Wright was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Chicago police could not comment on the lawsuit but said after the arrest that officers observed her with three others, assembled for the purpose of using force or violence to disturb the peace. Wright denied she did anything wrong and claimed police had the wrong person.
She was also taken to a hospital after she said she was detained for 18 hours.
Charges of disorderly conduct against Wright were dropped in September, the law firm representing Wright said in a statement, calling the charges "baseless."
Wright's attorneys said she "sustained serious injuries including partial blindness to her right eye" in the incident after a piece of glass from the broken window hit her right eye.
Two officers involved in the arrest were relieved of their police powers pending an investigation into the incident, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said in June, following the Civilian Office of Police Accountability's recommendation that he take action against the officers.
That announcement came after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into the violent arrest that was captured on video, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
"The Cook County State's Attorney's office has launched an investigation into possible criminal charges related to the incident at Brickyard Mall, " State's Attorney Kim Foxx said at a news conference.
"Our office is in communication with the attorney representing the family in the case, and also working with the FBI which has started their own investigation as well," she continued, adding, "We’ll look at the evidence and the law and see where it takes us."
Foxx clarified that the charges against the woman who was arrested were municipal ordinance charges filed by the city and not prosecuted by her office.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.