Oak Lawn cop charged after video showed officers repeatedly hitting teen

Oak Lawn Police Board meeting cut short by protests over incident

ByDiane Pathieu and Maher Kawash WLS logo
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Oak Lawn police officer charged after teen's violent arrest
Oak Lawn police Officer Patrick O'Donnell has been charged after the violent arrest of Hadi Abuatelah. Video captured officers hitting the teen.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Oak Lawn police officer is facing criminal charges after the violent arrest of a teen that was caught on video.

The officer faced a judge Wednesday morning at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Officer Patrick O'Donnell is charged with two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of official misconduct.

The judge ordered 32-year-old O'Donnell to pay a $75,000 IBond. He walked out of court surrounded by his wife and 30 to 40 other officers.

The arrest in question happened last July. While conducting a traffic stop, Oak Lawn police said they smelled marijuana coming from the car they pulled over.

Body cameras captured 17-year-old Hadi Abuatelah running from officers. Eventually, officers stopped him in the street. Video released by Oak Lawn police shows officers hitting the teen.

Prosecutors accuse O'Donnell of punching the teen in the face more than 10 times during the arrest and said he also used his Taser, which led to the teen being hospitalized.

SEE ALSO: Family renews call for justice after teen's violent arrest by Oak Lawn police last summer

Police said Abuatelah had a bag with a gun in it, and wouldn't let it go. Oak Lawn police said a gun was recovered after the incident.

After an investigation, the Cook County State's Attorney's office decided to indict O'Donnell, saying he, along with two other officers, held down the teenager and punched him repeatedly, causing massive injuries.

"If Officer O'Donnell acted how he was trained, it really speaks to the point of what's wrong with policing in this state," said Muhammad Sankari, with the Arab American Action Network. "If officers are trained that while two other adults are restraining a child, you repeatedly punch them in the face, you grab their hair and repeatedly punch them in the face and you break their nose, and you fracture their pelvis and you cause internal bleeding in their brain, what is wrong with policing in this state?"

An Oak Lawn Police Board meeting ended abruptly Wednesday night when protests broke out following O'Donnell's charging. Some speakers chose to use the allotted time to show video of the incident while others in the crowd became upset and started demanding that not be allowed.

An Oak Lawn Police Board meeting Wednesday was cut off early buy protests over a controversial arrest.

Abuatelah still faces a gun charge in juvenile court.

O'Donnell is on administrative leave, pending the investigation.

Abuatelah's parents have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Oak Lawn officers involved.

O'Donnell will make his next appearance on April 6.