Watch: Chicago Cops Beat Pastor in Front of Her Children

Angela Bronner Helm
Scene of the Rev. Catherine Brown’s May 13, 2013, confrontation with police in Chicago
Chicago Police Department video

In 2013 a Chicago woman was simply pulling into her driveway one evening and ended up in a violent confrontation with police in front of her two small children.

By the end of the night, the woman had had a gun drawn on her, been hit by a police car and pepper-sprayed, and been charged with attempted murder.


A CBS Chicago investigation blew open the heinous case—in which the reporters have squad-car video, 911 calls and complaints against these officers—wide open.

The news outlet reports that three years ago, the Rev. Catherine Brown was driving down her alley heading to her driveway. She says that she saw a squad car speeding toward her without lights or sirens, so she blew her horn because she thought the police might hit her.

She said that Officer Michelle Morsi Murphy and Officer Jose Lopez were blocking her driveway, and Murphy jumped out of the squad car cursing and ordered her to move her civilian vehicle … from in front of her own home.

“It startled me,” Brown said to CBS. “I reached for my license … the other officer takes the gun and points it at the front of my head.”


The outlet reports that Brown called 911 repeatedly. Those tapes reveal that she felt threatened and in danger. She repeatedly asked for a lieutenant and police to come and help. Her daughters’ screams can be heard on the calls.

Brown said that the officers forced her door open. Terrified, she drove backward out of the alley.


“Now she’s chasing me with the car. I come to a complete stop, and then she takes the car and rams it into me,” Brown says of the officer who hit her car with her children in it.

Morsi Murphy then pepper-sprays her, and the spray hits her baby, too. Lopez reportedly laughs. Then Morsi Murphy gets on top of a parked car and draws her gun and points it at Brown. Another officer strikes the car with a metal wand. Brown is taken down and dragged from the car.


Brown then describes even more abuse, saying that they “beat me down to my underwear, pulled my skirt off me,” Brown says. “They beat me with the sticks and hit me with their boots in my head. I got treated like an animal.”

Brown was then, incredibly, charged with attempted murder because Morsi Murphy claimed that Brown had dragged her. Brown was acquitted, but she was convicted of reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, for driving in reverse. She is appealing the conviction.


A Chicago Police Department spokesperson declined to discuss the case, citing pending litigation.

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