A third Chicago Police officer has been relieved of police powers as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates allegations of excessive force in the violent arrest of a Black woman outside Brickyard Mall in May.
According to COPA officials, Police Supt. David Brown concurred with the decision to relieve the officer of duty while the investigation into Mia Wright’s arrest continues. Two other officers were previously taken off the street due to their involvement in the arrest, which bystanders caught on video.
Wright, Tnika Tate and three others were headed to the Brickyard Mall, 2600 N. Narragansett Ave., the afternoon of May 31 to pick up supplies for a small birthday celebration, Tate said, only to discover the mall was closed due to looting the night before.
Tate turned around to leave the mall when she saw a group of Chicago police officers and pulled over to get out of their way, she said.
Clips show a large group of officers swarming their car in the mall’s parking lot and beating on the windows with batons until they shattered. Officers then can be seen dragging Wright out of the car by her hair, then slamming her to the ground.
One officer is shown holding Wright to the ground by kneeling into the back of her neck — the same maneuver that resulted in George Floyd’s death.
“It was horrible,” Wright said. “It was a moment I was scared for my life.”
Glass from the shattered car windows became embedded in her eye during her arrest, but Wright said she was denied medical attention for at least an hour after she was taken to the Grand Central police station and charged with disorderly conduct.
Wright’s right eye may now be permanently damaged from the glass. Her vision is severely impaired, and she is nearly blind in the eye, she said. She now requires physical therapy and counseling to recover from the emotional and physical trauma from the incident.
Wright’s attorney, Nenye Uche, said Wright is glad that some officers are being disciplined and COPA is working towards some level of accountability.
But the suspended officers were not the only ones who abused their power, as several others stood by and watched as their colleagues assaulted an unarmed Black woman, Uche said.
“There were more than three officers who attacked her vehicle and she hopes that more disciplinary action will follow against all involved in the senseless attack,” Uche said.
In the meantime, Uche has appealed to city leaders to drop the disorderly conduct charges still pending against Wright so that she can put the ordeal behind her.
“It’s outrageous,” Uche said. “You’re asking her to pay for being the victim of police brutality.”
Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.