OAK LAWN, Ill. — A teen hospitalized after video showed him being beaten by police in Oak Lawn now faces two felony charges after being arrested upon release.
The juvenile offender, identified by family members as 17-year-old Hadi Abuatellah, is charged with one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, one count of felony resisting arrest, two counts of misdemeanor resisting arrest and one count of possession of cannabis by a passenger in a motor vehicle.
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The charges came on the day Abuatellah was discharged from Advocate Christ Medical Center. According to police, he was taken into police custody and transported to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center for a detention hearing.
Police said that they would not offer any further comment at this time, citing an ongoing investigation. The department is cooperating with the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force’s investigation into the incident.
**WARNING: The video may be disturbing to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.
Abuatelah’s family and supporters rallied outside the Oak Lawn Police Department hours after the 17 year old was discharged from the hospital and into police custody. They say he’s recovering from internal bleeding in his brain, a fractured pelvis and broken nose among other injuries.
“He couldn’t barely move still,” family lawyer Shady Yassim said. “He was still using the use of a walker and he’s still using a wheelchair.”
While his loved ones called for police to release him to his parents, authorities say the teen will instead spend the night in juvenile detention.
The arrest stems from a July 27 incident following a traffic stop at 95th Street and McVicker Avenue. Oak Lawn Police say they pulled a car over with the teenage boy inside because officers smelled burnt cannabis and the car didn’t have a front registration. After they searched the driver, Abuatellah ran off, with officers immediately following.
A woman was passing by and recorded video that showed officers throwing several punches as they physically restrained the 17-year-old boy.
A woman is heard on the video saying, “Why are they beating him like this? It’s a little boy.”
According to the woman, officers grabbed the teen and tackled him to the ground. Once they attacked him, one officer started kicking the boy and then the other officer grabbed his hair and started punching him in the face.
“The crime that we all saw on video was the crime of a horrific assault of a minor by three grown men,” said Muhammad Sankari with the Arab-American Action Network.
Police said the teen refused to listen to verbal commands, leading to a physical confrontation. Law enforcement also stated that they believed the teen had a handgun.
Dashcam video of the incident does show one officer reaching into a black bag and pulling out a gun after the teen is apprehended.
Oak Lawn Police Chief Daniel Vittorio defended the officer’s actions amid calls for their immediate termination from family members and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Chicago).
“What concerns me is a [17-year-old] running around with a gun,” the police chief said on July 28. “That’s what concerns me.”
Activists with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition sp[oke Monday about the family’s grievances.
“We’re very concerned about the profiling of Hadi and his friends,” Bishop Tavis Grant said. “We’re very concerned about the probable cause and what started all this.”
The family’s lawyers have filed a federal lawsuit against Oak Lawn Police for excessive force and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive Abuatelah of his Constitutional rights, among other claims.
“The only fear these officers had,” says Yassim, “was the fear of getting caught for what they did to Hadi.”