Family sues CPD after driverless squad car runs over, seriously injures girl, 15

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Monday, June 29, 2020
Family sues CPD after squad car runs over, seriously injures teen daughter
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Astarte Washington's family filed the lawsuit Friday, and said the squad car had been let in drive without anyone inside when the 15-year-old girl was seriously injured.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A family is suing the Chicago Police Department, accusing police of reckless disregard for a 15-year-old girl's safety after a squad SUV rolled over and seriously injured her.

Astarte Washington's family filed the lawsuit Friday, and said the squad car had been left in drive without anyone in the car.

In her 8th grade graduation photos, Astarte smiles in her cap and gown but stands with the help of crutches and still has a leg brace around her right leg. Once the captain of her school's basketball team, she is uncertain if she'll ever play again.

Astarte was run over by a driverless CPD squad car in Roseland on May 31.

"She loved to talk to people. She loved to go outside. My baby stay in the house now. She don't want to have no conversations. She don't want to be in around her family. She stuck in her room," said Tawana Washignton, mother.

Cell phone video shows Astarte moments before being hit. According to her family, the teen was walking home from her grandmother's house near 97th and Yale when she encountered police responding to reports of looting near the intersection of 111th Street and Michigan.

Responding to police orders, she got down and was lying face up in the street when police said "an officer exited his vehicle to assist another in need of help. He then observed his vehicle rolling backward, injuring one officer and one juvenile civilian."

"It is a willful disregard," said Robert Fakhouri, family's attorney. "At the order of the police, they commanded her and ordered her to get to the ground. She complied."

"I call her my little old lady," said Bonita Washington, grandmother. "Astarte talks about her future. She talks about her future all the time. She talks about moving forward. She talks about the things she wants to do."

Before the incident, Astarte wanted a career in the WNBA. She's also set to start high school in the fall.

Chicago police said they have opened an investigation into the incident, but will not comment on the lawsuit itself.