Former police officers question handling of violent Oak Lawn arrest: 'Lawful, but awful'

Oak Lawn police chief defends officers' use of force during arrest of Hadi Abuadaleh, 17

ByLeah Hope and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, July 29, 2022
Ex-cops question handling of teen's violent arrest in Oak Lawn
Former cops reacted to video that shows the violent arrest of 17-year-old Hadi Abuadaleh in Oak Lawn earlier this week.

OAK LAWN, Ill. (WLS) -- Police dashcam video that captured the moments leading up to a teenager's violent arrest has sparked outrage and protests in Oak Lawn.

A day after video of the arrest went viral, Oak Lawn police released their own video and defended their officers' actions, saying 17-year-old Hadi Abuadaleh had a gun on him.

The teen's family remains at his bedside as he continues to recover in the hospital. Now, former police officers are speaking out about the controversial arrest.

We want to warn you, the video may be difficult to watch.

WATCH | Oak Lawn police press conference on teen's violent arrest

Oak Lawn police held a press conference Thursday afternoon to release dashcam video and provide their account of a violent arrest of a 17-year-old boy.

After nearly three decades on the job, retired Chicago Police Sergeant Shawn Kennedy said knows the adrenaline of a chase. But he also acknowledges the officer's responsibility to control his or her emotions to de-escalate and control a situation.

"Yes, the officers may have been afraid for their life and no one can say that but the officers," Kennedy said, "but I always think there is more than one way to counter that."

Kennedy has seen video of the Oak Lawn traffic stop that resulted in a chase and came to a violent end Wednesday.

Oak Lawn police said the officers reacted because the 17-year-old on the ground would not let go of a bag. Police say a gun was later recovered from the bag.

The teen's family, attorney and others gathered outside the Oak Lawn police station to protest the use of force against the teen, who remains hospitalized.

Kennedy offered his perspective as an officer and current chairman of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers.

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"He had three large, adult men there gaining control of his body weight. He cannot go into the bag," Kennedy said. "I look at the other officer punching his head... to me, that's excessive. It's not necessary."

"This is one of those situations where it is lawful, but awful," said Kalfani Ture, a policing and race expert at Mount Saint Mary's University and former police officer.

Ture said that from what he saw in the videos, the officers in the Oak Lawn incident used their training appropriately with the exception of hitting the teen's face and head. He said officers are trained to avoid blows to the head.

"I find it somewhat difficult that this young kid was able to wrestle the bag so that they couldn't eventually get it away from him," Ture said. "I'm not sure if this is an issue of patience, or this is simply an issue of better training of use of force."

Oak Lawn police said charges are pending against the teen.

Full statement from Oak Lawn police

On Wednesday July 27th an Oak Lawn Police Officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of Southwest Highway and Austin Ave. During the stop a subject fled on foot.

After a brief foot pursuit the offender was apprehended in the area of 95th St and McVicker Ave. The subject refused to listen to verbal commands which resulted in a physical confrontation with two officers.

The subject was armed at the time, unlawfully, with a semiautomatic handgun during the incident.

Both the subject and one officer were transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries.

Our investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.