The Chicago Police Department is notorious for its use of force–especially against Black residents of the city–as well as its frequent habit of trying to keep the public from seeing video footage that proves this practice of brutality.
Tuesday’s release of body-camera footage of a CPD officer hitting 32-year-old Martina Standley with his patrol car in November 2019, pinning her leg under the vehicle and causing a traumatic head injury, is the latest addition to this ongoing story.
The video of the gruesome incident was obtained by Chicago activist William Colloway, who said in a statement to The Root that he sued the police department for the footage after they initially denied his Freedom of Information Request to access it.
“The city fought for nearly a year before being forced by the courts to release this footage to the public,” the statement said.
The video shows Standley appearing to tap on a police vehicle, which has an unidentified Black Chicago officer behind the wheel, who then turns his vehicle and hits the woman. Standley collapses to the ground, unconscious.
The officer exits his vehicle and the first words out of his mouth are, “Girl, ain’t nobody hit you like that.”
After noticing the woman is laid out, bleeding from her head, and her leg is pinned under the car, the officer says “Oh, fuck!” He then calls for an ambulance and says he was trying to put the car into reverse.
This happens at about 1:45 mark into the footage (note: the video below has graphic content):
Standley is left lying under the car while blood from her head stains the pavement, as the officer who hit her asks the motionless woman if she is OK. He then says he does not want to move the car that is still sitting on her (and weighs 4,700 pounds, according to her attorney Andrew Stroth).
A passerby is heard in the background saying she saw the officer hit Standley, to which he responds that it was an accident.
Pretty soon, several more police cars and officers pull up to the scene—but somehow Standley is left under the car for several more minutes with no one making an attempt to relieve the weight on her injured body until EMTs show up nearly nine minutes later.
Standley has a lawsuit against the city of Chicago, filed in 2019, for damages related to the severe injuries and suffering she sustained after the officer hit her with his squad car.
“Similar to the Anjanette Young case, it took the city of Chicago several months to release the video evidence,” Stroth told The Root. “It’s imperative that Mayor Lightfoot, Supt. David Brown and the Law Department take steps to make sure videos are released in a timely fashion and that Chicago police officers are trained to value the sanctity of life.”
In a statement sent to The Root, the CPD said the incident is still under investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and that the officers involved remain on full-duty.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Tuesday that she wasn’t aware of the case and so couldn’t comment, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Root has also reached out to Mayor Lightfoot for a response to the video.
Just last month, the mayor and the city’s legal department were in hot water following the release of footage from a botched raid of the home of Young, a 50-year-old Black social worker who was apprehended in her home while naked by CPD on faulty information. In that incident, the city also fought the release of body camera video of the incident for nearly two years, until being forced to provide it to Young by a court order.