Men allege police brutality at liquor store

August 18, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the case.

Michael Ayala still doesn't understand why several Chicago Police officers allegedly attacked him and his brother. The men say the cops punched and kicked them for no reason at all.

"I did not touch them. I did not spit at them. I was handcuffed," Ayala said.

A battered Michael Ayala says he and his brother did nothing to provoke the beating he says they took from a group of Chicago Police officers. The father of two claims, when he asked officers to stop their assault, they beat them more.

"When I was telling them...'Can you please stop doing that to my brother?' As I said that, the cop goes around and he hits me a couple times," said Ayala.

Security camera video posted on YouTube doesn't show that, but it does appear to show more than a dozen officers wrestling the brothers to the ground inside the store where they had been working and attacking them.

The officers involved in the alleged brutality are based out of the 8th District.

The Chicago Police Department is investigating, and in a statement said, "The alleged conduct does not represent the high standards of professionalism and excellence maintained as core values of the department."

The 23-year-old store manager says the attack happened early Tuesday morning around 1 a.m. as he and his 18-year-old brother, Adrian, closed up after finishing inventory at the 7-9-11 Food and Liquor Store where the older Ayala has worked for about three years.

Michael Ayala says, as he grabbed his keys from inside while his brother waited outside by his bike, about a dozen officers arrived and mistook them for robbers.

The brothers say, even after the store's owner verified their identities to police, the cops punched and kicked them when Ayala promised not to let the incident go unreported.

"They pushed me into (a window). My head and body hit. That's when my brother intervened," said Michael Ayala.

Wednesday, as he returned to work, Michael Ayala said his trust in those who are supposed to serve and protect is gone.

"If this happens with those 15 cops, imagine how many other corrupt ones there are," said Ayala.

Both men were charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct after officers say the men verbally threatened them, a charge the brothers deny.

The police officers involved in the incident are still on duty.

The Independent Police Review Authority, which handles allegations of police brutality and misconduct, has launched its own investigation.

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