CHICAGO (CN) – A 70-year-old pushcart vendor claims in court that a Chicago cop kicked her legs apart, choked her with her apron and told her, “You are going to die.”
Maria Contreras sued Officer Dunn and the City of Chicago in Federal Court.
“Plaintiff is a licensed push cart vendor with the City of Chicago and sells fruit and candy from her cart,” the complaint states.
“On October 14, 2011, at approximately 2 p.m., plaintiff was in the vicinity of Guadalupe Gonzalez Magnet School with her push cart when she was approached by Officer Dunn.”
Contreras says she produced her vendor’s license and her husband retrieved her state identification card from home to show to Officer Dunn, a female police officer.
Nevertheless, as the school bell rang and children were leaving school, Contreras says, Dunn “roughly grabbed plaintiff, who is 70 years old and approximately 5 feet tall, by the arm and threw her against the police car and shoved her, kicked Maria’s legs apart with her feet and did an aggressive search of her person. Then Officer Dunn proceeded to throw plaintiff into Officer Dunn’s squad car, injuring plaintiff’s shoulder.
“A girl from the school was taking pictures of what was happening, and Officer Dunn told her to mind her own business. When the girl continued to use her camera, Officer Dunn grabbed her and smashed her face into the side of a vehicle.”
Dunn then drove a block and “wrote out one last ticket to the plaintiff concerning the operation of her push cart,” the complaint states.
“A few kids from the school were walking past the squad car and asked Officer Dunn why she had plaintiff in the squad car, and the officer chased the kids away, infuriated that they asked the officer to release plaintiff.
“Officer Dunn then opened the squad car door, grabbed plaintiff’s hand and asked her if the apron in the back passenger seat was hers, she said ‘Yes’ and the officer then put it around plaintiff’s neck and began to choke her with it, telling plaintiff ‘You are going to die’ as she pulled plaintiff from the squad car and threw her down into the street, injuring plaintiff’s knee, shoulder and head.
“While plaintiff lay in the street crying, Officer Dunn threw the tickets, her state ID and her permit on her, then got back in the squad car and drove away,” according to the complaint.
Contreras says she was treated at the hospital, and her son-in-law lodged a complaint against Dunn on her behalf.
However, Contreras says, “The City of Chicago has failed to take any action against Officer Dunn, who continues to harass other vendors in the same area where plaintiff operated her push cart.”
Contreras seeks punitive damages for excessive force, battery, assault, and requests indemnification from the City.
She is represented by Kurt H. Feuer.