OAK LAWN, Ill. — The Cook County State’s Attorney requested an independent investigation by the Illinois State Police into the Oak Lawn Police Department after two Oak Lawn officers were seen on video beating a teen during an arrest, according to a press release from the Village of Oak Lawn Saturday.
The incident in question happened on Wednesday, July 27 at around 6 p.m. near the intersection of 95th Street and McVicker Avenue where police said a teen got out of the car and fled down the street.
The teen, later identified as 17-year-old Hadi Abuatellah, was taken down by officers after a foot chase and in a video shot by a bystander, two officers can be seen punching Abuatellah several times to the head and body.
Oak Lawn Police said they pulled a car over with the teenage boy inside last Wednesday because officers smelled burnt cannabis and the car didn’t have a front registration. After they searched the driver, Abuatellah ran off, with officers following.
Oak Lawn officers aren’t equipped with body cameras and the dash cam video released by Oak Lawn PD Thursday doesn’t show the moment an officer tackles the 17-year-old to the ground. It does capture, however, the officers’ commands once the teen is pinned.
**WARNING: The video may be disturbing to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.
Oak Lawn police said after a brief chase, the teen refused to listen to verbal commands, which led to the physical confrontation with the two officers. While on the pavement, police said the teen kept reaching for his bag and they feared there was a gun was inside.
Officers appeared to handcuff the suspect after using a taser on him. The video then shows one officer reaching into the black bag and pulling out a gun.
“Once they feared there was a weapon in there, that turned into a deadly force incident, so had the offender drawn that weapon, he could have shot them,” said “Oak Lawn Police Chief Daniel Vittorio, in defense of his officers. “What are they supposed to do, wait for him to pull it out?”
Representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.) disagree and feel officers used an excessive amount of force.
“Our position is that regardless of whether the cops smelled weed or suspected a gun was in someone’s possession, I think our main issue here is that once he was subdued, that was the end of the arrest and there should not have been a continued beating,” said Emma Melton, staff attorney for C.A.I.R. Chicago, Friday.
The Oak Lawn Board of Trustees said that both them and Oak Lawn PD will fully cooperate with the ISP investigation and will have no further comment until the investigation is complete.