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Body camera video shows a violent arrest that is now a civil rights lawsuit

Leroy Kennedy, a Black man, says in his lawsuit that he was walking on a sidewalk “minding his own business” on August 23, 2020. Despite not breaking any laws, he was suddenly grabbed by police and “slammed … into a brick wall and officers then “slammed his head into the pavement more than once,” the court document adds.

The arrest report of the incident, provided to CNN by Kennedy’s attorneys and featured as part of the lawsuit, says that Kennedy looked “directly in (the officers’) direction and stiffen(ed) his body” and “his eyes enlarge(d), meaning his eyebrows rose which produced a shocked look his face.”

Officers wrote in the report that Kennedy’s appearance, and the fact that he “adjusted his hands and manipulated his front lap area,” led them to believe he was concealing a gun.

The body camera video from the two responding officers, provided by Kennedy’s attorneys, shows officers run up to him and almost immediately slam him into a brick wall and then the pavement. At one point, the video shows one of the officer’s hands grabbing Kennedy by the neck. The cameras did not record the first two minutes of sound of the encounter.

The video shows that Kennedy, with large visible scrapes to his forehead, was then put into the back of the squad car where he was searched and handcuffed. As this was occurring, a crowd of angry bystanders began to confront and yell at the officers.

After officers drove Kennedy a short distance to another location, an ambulance is called for him. The arrest report says he was taken to a hospital for treatment. Chicago Police records show he was arrested on two charges of resisting arrest and one charge of aggravated battery of a police officer.

The arrest report does not mention any weapons being found by Kennedy.

The criminal charges against Kennedy were dropped four months later, on December 18, 2020, according to a spokesperson from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The lawsuit says that this was because “video evidence showed there was no case against (him).”

Study finds police officers of color make fewer stops and arrests and use less force than White officers

The lawsuit claims that the defendants — in this case the city of Chicago and the two arresting officers — used excessive force, subjected Kennedy to false arrest, violated his due processes, and four other counts. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

A spokesman for the Chicago Police said that the department “cannot comment on pending or proposed litigation.” CNN reached out to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for a comment on the lawsuit but did not immediately hear back.

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who has represented the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other police violence victims, called the arrest “violent and vicious” and demanded accountability in a tweet on Thursday.

“The bodycam video shows the kind of vile, inhumane treatment that has left him SEVERELY traumatized,” Crump wrote.

The lawsuit seeks “compensatory damages and because defendants acted maliciously, wantonly, or oppressively, punitive damages against the individual (officers) in their individual capacities” as well as court and attorney fees.



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