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A 16-year-old Chicago high school student has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city's police, alleging excessive force for tasing her multiple times, dragging her down a flight of stairs by her foot, pushing her down another flight stairs, hitting her, stomping her chest, and more, all while her father watched.
What’s more, this entire incident happened at the student’s high school and was captured on camera. According to reports, the student was removed from class for refusing to put away her cell phone. The police officers were supposed to escort her off school grounds, to her father, who was waiting at the entrance. The surveillance footage clearly shows officers grabbing her and basically throwing her down the stairs, then pouncing on her. Shockingly, after the incident, she was charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault on the officers (both counts were dropped).
Notably, the high school student maintained that the officer instigated the attack by grabbing her and throwing her down the stairs. While the officers reported she pushed them down the stairs, the student explained that she attempted to hold onto the officer’s clothing, after being thrown down the stairs initially. Then, she held onto the officer, while another officer pulled her down the second flight of stairs by her foot. Her father attempted to intervene, but was told to move back and complied, and watched the beating ensue.
While the videos don’t show what happened before the student was grabbed and thrown down the stairs, what the videos do show corroborate the student’s story. Notably, body cam footage has not been released.
Generally, when a person is being arrested, or taken into police custody, fighting back or resisting will be grounds for serious criminal charges. In only very limited circumstances are individuals ever justified in fighting back, such as when the arrest is unlawful, or when officers are using excessive force. But these situations can be rather difficult to accurately assess, especially in the heat of the moment.
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