Police drag teen down a flight of stairs after she refused to put her phone away in class
Two Chicago Police officers have been reassigned after they reportedly used a taser on a 16-year-old girl, before throwing her down the stairs.
Dnigma Howard had sparked off the violent episode by arguing with a teacher about putting her phone away during a class at John Marshall Metropolitan High School.
The incident occurred on January 29, where officers claimed that Howard was the aggressor, stating in their report that she "became irate and initiated a physical altercation with the officers", but new video footage seems to completely contradict that statement.
Here is footage of Dnigma Howard being attacked by police:
The above footage was recorded by Laurentio Howard, Dnigma's father, who witnessed a large majority of the incident. "My first instinct was to protect her," he explained to the Chicago Sun-Times at the time, "but they told me to step back, so I could only watch. I told them they didn’t need to do that."
According to an amended lawsuit filed last Thursday by Dnigma Howard's attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, the officers involved held the student down while stepping on her chest, but didn't request the help of her father or of school personnel.
"The Board of Education and CPD continue to fail our children. An unarmed 16-year-old girl was beaten, kicked, punched and tasered by officers," said Stroth in a statement.
"Those officers filed a false statement. Their statements are completely untrue and are completely contradicted by what is shown on the video. The saving grace for Dnigma is that this was caught on camera."
Stroth also called on the incumbent Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to redress the issue of Chicago Police involvement in public schools.
"Mayor-elect Lightfoot needs to address the issue of police in schools immediately. The city of Chicago is now facing another federal lawsuit because the city has not addressed the findings of the Inspector General’s report and the consent decree recommendations on how to address the issue of police in schools."
Check out this damning new footage that contradicts the officers' version of events:
Shortly after the incident, the Chicago Public Schools announced that the two police officers involved would not be returning to the school, according to district spokesman Michael Passman.
"CPS strives to create safe and supportive learning environments for all students, and this disturbing incident has absolutely no place in our schools.
"To ensure a thorough review of this situation is conducted, we are asking the district’s Office of the Inspector General to review the matter and we will fully support the ongoing investigation by the City’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability."
Talking with the Sun-Times shortly after the incident, Dnigma Howard denied that she had refused to leave the building before the police attacked her, adding that allegations she attacked three officers were also false. She confirmed that a female office had hit her several times, causing a cut to her face, before she was tased - which her father recorded.
"It was embarrassing. [Other students] were watching," Howard explained, adding that she was "relieved" she wasn't sent to a juvenile detention centre. "I’m still irritated. The whole story [the prosecutors] said was untrue […] I was wrong on my part, but when they [hit me] I had no other way to react," she explained.