Teen Says Chicago Cops Beat Her Bloody
CHICAGO (CN) - Chicago police chained a young woman to a wall and beat her bloody in a terrifying interrogation to try to force her to identify a shooter whose face she never saw, the woman claims in Federal Court.
Jacklyn Miranda sued Chicago and Unknown Chicago Police Officers in the Northern District of Illinois.
"This summer, plaintiff was walking with a friend in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood when she witnessed a shooting of multiple people," Miranda, 18, says in the lawsuit. "From where she was standing - across the street from the shooting - she was unable to see the shooter's face before he fled.
"Plaintiff and her friend immediately ran to help the victims, and reported the shooting to 911 dispatch. When the police arrived, plaintiff and her friend described what they had seen. The police then brought the girls to the police station and took formal statements from them. In giving her statement, plaintiff described everything that she had seen, including a description of the shooter's build. Plaintiff stressed to the police that she did not see the shooter's face, however, and thus could not identify him.
"The shooting was reported on the news to have killed one person and injured multiple others."
Miranda says she graduated from high school this year and is holding down two jobs and planning to go to community college and then university.
After the shooting, she says, "Detective Marco Garcia, along with two unknown defendant detectives, arrived at plaintiff's home. Instead of providing news about the shooting victims, the officers showed plaintiff mug shots, and asked her to sign one of the photos. Plaintiff refused to do so. She had not seen the shooter's face, and did not want to implicate an innocent person.
"The defendant officers accused plaintiff of lying, and of knowing who fired the gunshots. Plaintiff began to cry. Despite this, the defendants continued to pressure plaintiff to sign one of the mug shots. Plaintiff's mother asked the officers to leave, because they were scaring plaintiff, and not to contact her daughter again."
Garcia is not named as an individual defendant.
The complaint continues: "Later, on a day in August 2013, plaintiff was walking to a bus stop in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood when a defendant officer drove by. The defendant reversed his car, got out, and began to search plaintiff. He snatched her purse over her head, and grabbed her phone out of her hand.
"The defendant began to lift plaintiff's shirt to search her, and when plaintiff asked him to stop, the defendant said words to the effect of, 'fine, we'll do this the hard way.' The officer handcuffed plaintiff and put her in his car. When plaintiff asked what was happening, the defendant officer did not tell her.
"Plaintiff asked for her phone back so that she could call her mother, but the defendant refused, telling her that because she was 18 she did not get to call her mom anymore. The defendant belittled plaintiff, accusing her of seeking protection from 'mommy.'"
The officer then refused her request for a lawyer, "telling her that she did not need a lawyer," took her to an interrogation room at the station, where he left her for an hour with her hands cuffed behind her back, Miranda says.
The complaint continues: "When he returned, the defendant handcuffed plaintiff to a ring on the wall. He said words to the effect of, 'we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way.' When plaintiff said that she had described everything she had seen of the shooting, he again accused her of lying.
"The defendant indicated that he had been following plaintiff closely, revealing that he knew where she had made an ATM withdrawal days before.
"The defendant made plaintiff look at graphic photos of the shooting victims, including a girl who had been shot in the face. When plaintiff insisted that this would not change what she saw, the defendant, who was much larger than plaintiff, got within inches of her face, screamed at her, and repeatedly called her a 'bitch.' During this, plaintiff was still handcuffed to the wall.
"Plaintiff told the defendant that his pressure could not make her tell a false story. At that, the defendant struck plaintiff across her face with his open hand. Plaintiff began to bleed.
"When the defendant officer opened the door of the interrogation room to leave, plaintiff saw other officers outside. Seeking their help, she called out that she had been hit and was bleeding.
"The defendant came back into the room, closed the door behind him, and threatened plaintiff, saying that if she did that again, he would 'lay her out' and make it look like she had come at him. The defendant proceeded to tighten the handcuffs multiple times around plaintiff's wrist, asking whether plaintiff understood him. He then informed plaintiff that he had done this sort of interrogation before.
"Plaintiff said that since there were cameras in the room, people would know what he was doing to her. The defendant responded with words to the effect of: 'You stupid bitch, the cameras are off in this room. No one cares what happens to you.'
"The defendant again pressured plaintiff to identify the shooter, saying that he would wait all night. When he left, another defendant officer came in. This officer observed plaintiff wiping blood off her face.
"After the original defendant returned, both officers told her to name the shooter, despite her continued assertions that she could not identify him.
"Finally, in an attempt at freedom, plaintiff told the defendants that she would return to the station later and look at a lineup of suspects. After hours of being detained in the interrogation room, the defendants released plaintiff, and drove her to a restaurant where a friend waited. Seeing that the defendants were staying outside the restaurant, watching her from their car, plaintiff fled out of the back door of the restaurant."
Miranda claims that police officers still come to her house asking for her, and have threatened her friends with arrest if they will not disclose where police can find her.
She seeks punitive damages for false arrest, unreasonable seizure, excessive force, failure to intervene, conspiracy, assault and battery, and emotional distress.
She is represented by Samantha Liskow with Loevy & Loevy.