2 CPD officers relieved of powers after Brickyard Mall incident caught on video; women describe being pulled from car, thrown to ground

Officers remain under investigation by COPA, Cook County State's Attorney

ByDiane Pathieu, Craig Wall, Chuck Goudie, and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner via WLS logo
Saturday, June 6, 2020
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Two of the officers involved in a violent arrest at Brickyard Mall which was caught on video have been stripped of their powers, Supt. Brown said Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two officers caught on video pulling women from their car and throwing them on the ground as they arrested them on the city's Northwest Side have been relieved of their police powers.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said he reviewed the recommendations from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) and has relieved two of the officers of their police powers pending an external investigation.

The incident is being investigated by COPA and as well as an independent investigation by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

In an unusual recommendation, COPA said it wanted the officers involved put on desk duty or temporarily relieved of their police powers even before their investigation is finished.

COPA added that it has yet to identify all of the officers involved and asked the public to share any information or video pertaining to the incident.

WATCH: Raw video of incident shot by bystander

The arrest took place on May 31, the day after widespread violence and looting in Chicago. It also happened less than one week after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

"The people that I thought was there to protect and serve us had dragged me out of the car by my hair and slammed me to the ground," Mia Wright said.

Alongside her attorney, Wright returned to the Brickyard Mall where cell phone videos captured Chicago Police smashing out a car window, pulling her out, and putting a knee on her neck for what she estimates was two minutes.

"The officer had his knee on my neck, and all I thought about, what happened to George Floyd and it could have been another situation like that," she said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the videos deeply disturbing, but said people should not rush to judgment.

"Give COPA and IAD the opportunity to fully investigate, to understand the context, and then to transparently report what investigators find," Lightfoot said.

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot speaks about Brickyard Mall incident

James Smith, a friend of Wright's who was meeting her at the mall to shop for a cousin's birthday party, was one of several people who captured what happened on his phone.

"No justification at all, no justification for running up on the car, breaking the windows, no justification for snatching them out," Smith said.

"You will think that in this climate, these particular people, police officers, will work on building trust and promoting peace," said Nenya E. Uche, an attorney for the victim. "Yet what we saw was them promoting and provoking fear, chaos and mayhem."

The investigation of police may come down to CPD regulations that urge against kneeling on suspects and do prohibit neck choke-holds and "a compliance technique that restricts blood flow to carotid arteries, causing the subject to lose oxygen to the brain."

WATCH: Women in car describe violent encounter with police

"My understanding is he did have a grip that you're not supposed to use unless you really intend to do bodily injury to the individual and possibly even kill them. That's gonna be a problem," former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer said.

Brickyard appeared to be a difficult scene for police to manage. There were mass arrests, including a woman seen on video charging police and slugging one patrolman in the face, according to the aggravated battery charges filed against 19-year old Jordan Zamudio. She told the I-Team she snapped after officers pushed her and used racial slurs.

Since Friday, COPA has received 258 complaints against police, mostly stemming from protests and involving complaints of excessive force, denials of counsel, improper search and seizure and verbal abuse.