Surveillance video shows violent encounter between officers and high school student

CHICAGO — New surveillance video shows two Chicago police officers getting into a violent encounter with a student at Marshall High School.

The incident happened in February, and the student’s attorney filed an amended lawsuit Thursday. The lawsuit claimed the officer pushed and dragged 16-year-old Dnigma Howard down a flight of stairs, then held her down by stepping on her chest, punching her and then shocked her with a stun gun.

Laurentio Howard said the video shows he and his daughter were telling the truth the whole time. In the video, the teen’s father (in the blue coat) tries to intervene and is told to stay away.

The teen has an individualized education program to help manage her behavior, but her father said the protocol in place wasn’t followed.

"She wasn't really fighting back. She was defending herself. They were kicking her and stomping her and stuff. She tensed up. That's a natural reaction of anybody," he said.

The student was initially charged with aggravated battery against the officers.

Prosecutors said police were called to escort her away, after she was suspended and refused to leave. She then kicked, bit and spit on the officers. The charges were dropped less than a week later.

In February, the Fraternal Order of Police president called the state’s attorney’s decision to drop the charges very disturbing.

“They did everything they could to protect her from being hurt and they used the Taser because she seriously injured those two officers and she needs to be recharged,” Kevin Graham, FOP president, said at the time.

Graham said she should be recharged.

“The video doesn’t capture all of the interaction the student has with the police. I know that the officers, one of them almost had her finger bit off and the other officer has a broken knee cap,” Graham said.

Attorney Andrew Stroth said the two officers in the video had 89% more complaints of excessive force than other members in the CPD. He said Howard “did not instigate or provoke any type of attack.”

Stroth said CPD officers should not be in Chicago schools. He’s appealing to Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot to change the practice. The Chicago Teacher’s Union president has denounced the video.

Police and CPS are investigating while the federal civil rights lawsuit continues.

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