CHICAGO (CN) - While fending off an off-duty cop assaulting his sister for dressing like a boy, a teen had his front teeth kicked out, a federal complaint alleges.
Brandon Russell and Aaliyah Russell-Morgan filed the eight-page action on Jan. 20 against the city of Chicago, Officer Xavier Chism and unknown officers of the Community Youth Development Institution, an alternative public school on the South Side.
The brother-and-sister plaintiffs say the incident occurred in December 2013 at their high school where Chism worked off-duty as a security guard.
Aaliyah, whom the complaint describes as 5-foot-3 and 130 pounds, had allegedly been "slow in returning to class" when Chism found her in the hallway at about 1 p.m. because she hoped to see a teacher to ask a question.
"Defendant Chism and the student body knew that plaintiff Aaliyah lived an 'alternative lifestyle' based on her gender preference," the complaint states.
Aaliyah says Chism took offense at her loitering and because she was "dressed in 'boy clothes.'"
"Defendant Chism told plaintiff Aaliyah, with a Chicago Police Department badge on display, 'if you're going to act like a boy, I'm going to treat you like a boy,'" the complaint states.
"Defendant Chism dragged plaintiff Aaliyah outside, wrestled her to the ground, and beat her about the body causing injury."
The complaint says that the school's principal would not let other students outside to intervene, so they found Aaliyah's brother, Brandon, in his English class.
Brandon says he raced downstairs and outside when he heard what was happening, but that Chism ignored his two requests to get off of his little sister.
With Aaliyah muttering "that she could not breathe," Brandon pulled her from under Chism, according to the complaint.
Chism then allegedly put Brandon in a headlock, but Brandon broke free only to have other police officers arrive and handcuff him.
"While plaintiff Brandon was seated, with his hands cuffed behind his back, and while he was compliant with police orders, defendant Chism walked up to him, kicked his front teeth out and punched him in the face," the complaint says.
A Dec. 20, 2013, article about Brandon and Aaliyah's arrest on DNAinfo.com quotes police as saying that Chism was trying to escort a resistant Aaliyah off-campus when Russell punched Chism in the face and broke the officer's nose.
Brandon was 20 and Aaliyah was 17 at the time, according to the article, which includes a picture of Brandon and a mouth of broken teeth.
The siblings seek damages for excessive force against the officers, and against the school for failing to protect an LGBT student in violation of her equal protection rights.
They are represented by Scott Kamin.
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