Police

Chicago Cops Dragged, Punched, and Tased a 16-Year-Old Girl. Can You Guess Who Was Charged With Battery?

Cue the lawsuit!

|

After an altercation with two Chicago cops at her high school, 16-year-old Dnigma Howard was charged with assaulting peace officers. Newly released surveillance video tells a very different story, one in which she fought back only after the officers physically assaulted her. By the end, Howard had been dragged down a flight of stairs, punched, and tased.

The incident occurred January 29 at Marshall High School. Howard had admittedly been using her cell phone in the classroom, prompting her to be told to go to a different room, which she didn't want to do. "I went to the second floor at the top of the stairs," she told the Chicago Tribune in February. "The police came up the stairs and they was like, you need to get your coat and go to the in-school room. I was like, 'I don't want to go in there.'"

According to police's version of events, Howard was the aggressor. She did resist the officers, and she admits to biting one of them during the struggle. But the video shows who escalated the incident into violence, and it wasn't Howard.

The video, first published by the Chicago Sun-Times, shows Howard standing in a hallway between two officers. Howard steps away, only to be forcefully grabbed by one of the cops, who drags her toward a stairwell:

The video then picks up from the bottom of that stairwell. Howard falls down the stairs and is punched multiple times by the officers while she's on the ground, and eventually tased. Her father, Laurentio Howard, who was supposed to take his daughter home, found himself watching as police hit her.

"I couldn't believe I seen two sworn police officers of Chicago abusing my daughter like this and I'm standing right there watching them do this and can't do anything about it," he tells WLS. "I thought maybe they were going to try to choke her out or she would lose consciousness or something like that," he says. "They had their foot on her chest."

Howard's resistance was a "natural reaction," her father tells WITI. "She wasn't really fighting back. She was defending herself. They were kicking her and stomping her and stuff. She tensed up."

The teen was charged with aggravated battery against both officers, but the charges were dropped days after the incident with little explanation. The Chicago police union isn't happy about that. "They did everything they could to protect her from being hurt and they used the Taser because she seriously injured those two officers and she needs to be recharged," Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham tells WGN.

The family, which is being represented by civil attorney Andrew Stroth, has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the city, the public school system, and the individual officers. "The video evidence completely contradicts the narrative given by the police," Stroth tells BuzzFeed.

The officers, who the Sun-Times identified as Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp, have been reassigned and are no longer working at that school. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is investigating the incident, as is the district's inspector general.

This kind of thing is nothing new for the Chicago police. Whether it's crashing a 4-year-old's birthday party and pointing guns at the terrified kids or using handcuffs to beat a teenager over the head, there's plenty of evidence that the department could use more oversight.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

85 responses to “Chicago Cops Dragged, Punched, and Tased a 16-Year-Old Girl. Can You Guess Who Was Charged With Battery?

  1. I think who ever pays for police misconduct should have the right to discipline officer.

    If the city pays, the city can discipline. If the police want to discipline their own, then they can pay.

    1. Why everyone is confused just join at home online job .This is really good opurtunity for home mom just join this website and Earn money by monthly check .So u cant be miss and join this site as soon as posible .
      Here what i am doo ?

      ??????? http://www.TheproCoin.CoM

    2. Why everyone is confused just join at home online job .This is really good opurtunity for home mom just join this website and Earn money by monthly check .So u cant be miss and join this site as soon as posible .
      Here what i am doo ?

      ??????? http://www.TheproCoin.CoM

      1. Wasn’t this new shitty format jammed down our throats to stop brainless spam like this? Nice fucking job!

        1. In fairness, this article (and that particular spammy comment) predated the change. Applying new technology to legacy data is tricky at best. I think we’ll have to wait and see if these comments show up in new articles.

  2. “there’s plenty of evidence that the department could use more oversight.”

    You mean that there’s some evidence that they have some (any) oversight now?

    1. The old mayor dissolved the oversight board and instituted a new one. The new mayor wants to dissolve that one and institute one of her own. They’ve got all the ‘more oversight’ you could possibly want or need and, eventually, they’ll get it right. Just trust ’em.

      1. “They’ve got all the ‘more oversight’ you could possibly want or need”

        But have they ever used any of it?

        1. But have they ever used any of it?

          When it’s politically expedient? Sure. After all, we convicted Jason Van Dyke!

  3. Who you gonna believe; your lying eyes, or the dedicated hard working police officers who risk their lives daily in the never ending struggle against teenage intransigence?

    1. She USED HER CELLPHONE!

  4. These SROs don’t help. They are more likely to create problems. However I don’t blame them I blame the kids who demand them. The kids should be marching in the street against the militarization of schools. That is the real threat to them, not gun rights or climate change. (Also they need to end autism ‘treatment’ and social security and medicare.)

    1. Ok, I get that this is satire (at least I HOPE it is) but what possible connection could there be?

        1. They’re so competently incompetent, they probably hired the Nigerians.

        2. No they cannot. However, given the mountain of evidence publicly released, it takes willful ignorance to believe Smollett is not guilty. That’s what’s so messed up. Any good citizen is forced to stand beside what is widely known as one of the country’s worst police forces

          1. it takes willful ignorance

            I hope you have an empty hand, because you’re going to need to hold Crusty’s beer.

          2. it takes willful ignorance

            I hope you have an empty hand, because you’re going to need to hold Crusty’s beer.

  5. Are there any cops/students/city dwellers/people left that are not selfish, violent idiots?

  6. If the police union thinks that this kind of behavior is defensible, then they should pay the judgement instead of the bill getting foisted off to us taxpayers. Maybe if the union had to face some consequences for the bad cops that they defend, they’d figure out how to police themselves.

    1. Well, actually, the Police Union management should be given three days to get out of the country, after which there will be a ‘shoot on sight’ order on them. I would be willing to accept your idea as a compromise.

      1. he Police Union management should be given three days to get out of the country, after which there will be a ‘shoot on sight’ order on them.

        I hope this is snark and not a real fantasy…

  7. “They did everything they could to protect her from being hurt and they used the Taser because she seriously injured those two officers and she needs to be recharged,”

    Recharged? That’s not how tazers work.

    1. I think they are referring to pulling the trigger a second time. Recharging the girl, not the tazer.

    2. Seriously injured cops. Yeah, that cop ego is a bit fragile.

      They used to teach students to duck and cover. Seems they need to teach kids to submit and prostrate to escape a much greater danger.

  8. Two-pronged solution:

    ?Get the cops out of the schools and go back to having school officials and teachers enforcing school rules and imposing discipline.

    ?Expel spoiled little shits like this girl who refuse to follow simple instructions from teachers.

    1. I believe cops in schools were made possible by schools not being allowed to properly discipline.

      1. It used to be that teachers could impose discipline because the parents would back them up. Parents would back them up because there was an unwritten agreement between the parents and the teachers; teach my little yard ape to read, write, and I will a degree of indoctrination and allow you to strike him briskly when he runs his mouth. That agreement has broken down. The indoctrination has been increased, the teachers have given up on actually teaching (so many of them are sub-literate anyway) and so parents see no reason to let them clobber their kid…even if they agree he needs it.

        1. My parents operated under that system, give a teacher back talk or disrespect then we expect the school to discipline you and they’ll be a follow-up at home, get paddled at school then expect to get another paddling at home. We follow my parents example with our own kids and the schools around here in Texas are pretty good at keeping discipline and have paddling as a disciplinary option.

      2. cops in schools were made possible by schools not being allowed to properly discipline.

        Like I said, it’s two-pronged. Teachers and administrators have been made fearful of disciplining students, while the number of students so undersocialized that they are nearly feral and so can only be controlled by physical force has increased. They’ve brought in the police to apply that force because they are trained and equipped for it, and because they are protected from legal action for using force. Get rid of the feral children AND the cops, and the teachers and real students can have the schools back.

        1. Get rid of feral children and you won’t need the cops anymore

  9. If the father was the guy in the blue coat and hat, I am shocked he didn’t attack the pigs himself. I would have found it extremely difficult not to jump the cop and slam his head into the floor. And he would have been justified to do so.

    F the pigs!

    How is it that two cops couldn’t simply cuff the kid upstairs? Assault with intent to do serious bodily harm is what they should be charged with, at a minimum. A jury trial should be demanded with no plea bargains. The local population should have their say.

    1. If the father was the guy in the blue coat and hat, I am shocked he didn’t attack the pigs himself.

      First let me say, fuck the pigs, fuck the Chicago PD.

      However, as I age as a parent and my kids get older, I have to say a part of me understands why Dad didn’t jump into the foray. There comes a point where throwing fists on behalf of your child’s behavior by default makes you both worse off.

      How is it that two cops couldn’t simply cuff the kid upstairs?

      The fact that two trained adult officers couldn’t apprehend a teenage girl less than half the size of one of them without less of an altercation or disturbance is an absolute systematic failure. They’re lucky this girl didn’t turn out to be 30 lbs. heavier or know how to throw a punch or they may not have wound up detaining her at all.

      Additionally, the shove down the stairs is pretty clearly assault with intent. At that point no one had been punched or bitten and a toss down the stairs does nothing to actually detain or arrest her.

      1. “There comes a point where throwing fists on behalf of your child’s behavior by default makes you both worse off.”

        Yeah, and that is because you always know exactly at which point the police violence will stop, amirite? Nice to see how cavalier you are with your children’s safety. No chance a cop pulls the gun instead of the taser. Too bad you do not take your children’s safety as seriously as the cops take theirs. Weak.

        That father was a pussy.

        1. Yeah, and that is because you always know exactly at which point the police violence will stop, amirite?

          So your assertion is that if you/the fully-grown black male gets involved in the fight the odds of an officer drawing his gun and shooting someone, or even both of you/them go down?

          I’m not defending the cops. They initiated aggression and outright assaulted her and I flat out said it. But to render judgement on a bystander based on nothing more than a video clip? Dumb. Pussy, confused, infirm… whatever. Hell, for all we know he’s not even the Dad!

          Either way, you’ve done a decent job associating yourself pretty strongly with outright stupidity and even established yourself as being pretty much as mindlessly violence-prone as the police officers.

    2. On the one hand, you defend your kid regardless. On the other, makes me wonder if he thinks she deserves it due to systemic behavior.

      There needs to be a middle ground in dealing with kids who are happy to say “I didn’t want to do that” when dealing with teachers and police and such.

      1. On the third hand, a wise person knows that punching violent police officers almost always makes the situation worse.

      2. “…makes me wonder if he thinks she deserves it due to systemic behavior.”

        Yeah, no one even bothered to offer that she was an honor student.

        1. Yeah, no one even bothered to offer that she was an honor student.

          Jesus Christ are you dumb. Would you feel better if they’d done this to a C student?

          What you really need to be highlighting is a fact that gets downplayed in the first couple sentences; that the video contradicts the initial statement released by police which said she was the one that initiated violence. They didn’t just charge her with assault, they said *she* attacked *them*.

    3. If that was him then he was wise to stay out of it because he would quite likely have been shot and killed (maximally) or arrested and charged (minimally). Face it – we live in a police state.

      1. No guarantee the girl was going to survive what the cops were doing to her.

  10. …Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp, have been reassigned and are no longer working at that school.

    Admission of wrongdoing.

    1. But of course they didn’t receive any other punishment. Their buddies probably high-5’d them.

  11. I have a solution to such police activity! When the law officers are called in situations as this if the person creating the reason the police are present does not cooperate with the law officers the law officers state that they have done what they could and then leave. There is no reason for them to stay and put the school district, city, county or even the police force in the position which will cost maybe millions of dollars of liability.
    But this would not have escalated to the level that it did except the student new that they DID NOT HAVE TO OBEY the officers.

    1. The real problem is the slurring of jurisdictional lines. The girl DID NOT HAVE TO OBEY the officers, but she did have to obey the administration and property owners as well as respect her fellow students’ rights to an education they paid for. The officers did escalate the situation to violence once they arrived on the scene, but she was at least half responsible for the prior escalation.

  12. As a libertarian this makes me sick. As a teacher, I see a problem I dont know how to address without going down a similar road the officers did.

    When you tell a child to do something they have to options: comply or resist. If they resist, how do you get them to comply? No matter what steps are taken, they hold all the cards unless force can be used. Part of the problem is property rights issues. If I owned the school, I would have moral grounds to physically expell someone who broke contract and refused to comply/leave. But in a public school who holds that position?

    I have students all the time refuse to follow simple rules of decency. Then they lash out (not physically) when you call them on it. They challenge you to “punish” them via referrals. They prefer ISS to class. Unless we are willing to end “compulsory” education and accept that stupid choice ought to beget harmful outcomes (let people skip school and be poor) there is little I can do to get students who are determined to ignore me to listen. The result is a dysfunctional school system which limits the educational gains of the otherwise good kids. It then becomes a self-repeating downward spiral of more and more “bad” kids.

    1. I think this is an excellent description of the crux of the problem. Unfortunately, I have no answers, except parents have got to care about their childs future enough to do the heavy lifting it takes. That also means the parents are actually present, not drug addicted, literate etc…

      1. Unfortunately, I have no answers, except parents have got to care about their childs future enough to do the heavy lifting it takes.

        If her Dad had done what the police officer did, even without the punches and tasering, he’d be in cuffs and have DCFS waiting on his doorstep.

    2. They prefer ISS to class.

      Then let them have it and nothing else.

      1. Then let them have it and nothing else.

        That’s the sort of thing that gets your school shut down. Either the kids are trainable/teachable or not. Keeping them *jailed* in a *school* is precisely the problem.

        1. Either the kids are trainable/teachable or not.

          So, expel the ones who are not.

          1. So, expel the ones who are not.

            Do you mean “expel” as in “allow to depart of their own volition” or “expel” as in “drive out by force”?

            1. Remove by force if necessary.

              1. I don’t disagree with you, but that law-and-order style of pragmatic/utilitarian libertarianism will get you branded as a Trump-loving, Mexican-hating bigot around these parts.

          2. So, you hate black children. /std-prog-response

            1. So, you hate the Black children who are being deprived of an education by the minority of “students” who are disruptive. /std-con-retort

              1. No Child Left Behind ring any bells?

                1. If they’re pathologically defiant at age 16, it’s time to cut your losses and leave them behind.

    3. It is a dilemma, but not an insoluble one. Force is an option, but a last resort option. This was not that kind of case. This was an unnecessary use of force to get the student to do what exactly? Go into a room that she didn’t want to? Someone should be beat down because of that?

  13. the Don looks weak if the soldiers don’t beat up the protected who refuses to pay homage oh wait this is a story about public schools and the police

  14. Chicago Cops Dragged, Punched, and Tased a 16-Year-Old Girl. Can You Guess Who Was Charged with Battery?

    She clearly battered those poor officer’s fists with her face. What a monster.

    1. It’s truly a dark day when two fine, upstanding officers who weren’t even wearing MAGA hats can be pilloried for their incredible bravery in taking this supervillain down.

  15. She was assaulted. We are allowed to protect ourselves. We need to get rid of qualified immunity and then we can legally protect ourselves by shooting these cock suckers in the face .FTP Fry’em like bacon
    \Cheer when a cop is shot in their fucking face

  16. “They did everything they could to protect her from being hurt

    Throwing her down a flight of steps, dragging her, punching her…

  17. I’m sure she’s a little angel who dindu nuffin.

    1. That’s actually the case. She was asked by the administrators to do something and didn’t. Subsequently asked by the officers to do something and didn’t. The fact that she didn’t do anything was the issue. The same way that when someone says “Get off my property.” and you refuse, *you’re* the problem.

  18. Incomplete video, incomplete journalism. You got this wrong _Reason_.

    1. No, no, the correct phraseology is, missing the totality of circumstances. HTH, smooches

  19. A point that gets overlooked in these types of stories is that it’s NOT just a matter of who’s in the wrong, but how the situation is handled. Even if the police are in the right and up against a legitimate criminal, the use of force should be limited to no more than is necessary to stop any violent actions that may be occurring. Instead, too many police think that the people they accost should be completely docile, obedient, and unresisting, and the police are willing to use excessive force to bring people to that condition. That is not an acceptable use of force, in my opinion.

    As a society, we need to seriously re-think the acceptable use of force by law enforcement officers.

  20. as Elizabeth replied I’m amazed that a mom can earn $7438 in four weeks on the computer. did you see this site………………………. http://www.geosalary.com

  21. If you’re ever called for jury duty, and the case involves someone charged with murdering a cop, vote ‘not guilty’ on principle.

    1. Uh… if you’re ever called for jury duty and the case involves someone charged with murdering anyone, you should be pretty biased towards not guilty unless convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt anyway.

  22. Public schools are prisons confirmed

  23. 16-year-old Dnigma Howard

    “Nig” to her friends…

  24. Oh, well…she’d been using her cell phone. That explains it. Beat her to a bloody pulp!!!

  25. Go fetal, CPD. Your statement in the future should be something like this:

    “When you get tired of being punching bags, Chicago schools, give us a call. Either you want your laws and rules enforced, or you want anarchy. Pick one. But until we have a firm and binding contract to back us when enforcing the rules you made, we’re done.

    Oh, and that applies to your neighborhoods, too. Brutality complaint gets filed, a three block radius of the address of the filer becomes a cop-free zone. We won’t come in there for any reason, until a majority of the residents put their names in writing as wanting us there.

    Yeah, you might fire us. Then you’ll have to hire and train the replacements, if you can find anyone willing to be treated as a villain for doing what you said you wanted done: enforce the laws and rules you made. Good luck.”

  26. Other countries seem not to have this problem.

  27. Somebody won the lottery. Next time just bring a suspicious looking digital clock to class.

  28. Old school would have just given her a sharp tap on the back of the thigh with a nightstick and said Move.

    1. Sad though that the cops didn’t know her dad was coming. If they did they are idiots.

  29. Several people are noting that the schools call in cops to do the disciplining when parents/courts won’t back up disciplinary action by teachers and principals.

    Hopefully, as the system becomes more choicified, the parents who don’t want their snowflake kids disciplined can group together in chaotic schools – maybe with police, because they might need police – while parents interested in some kind of standards can get together in schools with standards. Then the latter schools, with parental backing, would be able to deal with the misbehaving students without constant need for police assistance.

    I don’t know, but I’d expect the cops to be a bit resentful at being used as human shields the administrators can hide behind rather than facing down disruptive kids and their parents.

  30. I like that term “peace officers.” What could be a better description for officers who punch, tazer, and drag a girl? It’s a bit like Nineteen Eighty-Four.

  31. “Her father, Laurentio Howard…”

    She has a father? With the same last name? There’s a twist.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.