Militarization of Police

Lawsuit: SWAT Team Shot 12-Year-Old in Kneecap During Raid

The Illinois boy now suffers from severe PTSD and will walk with a limp for the rest of his life, the lawsuit says.

|

Twelve-year-old Amir Worship was sitting on the edge of his brother's bed with his hands in the air when an Illinois SWAT team officer shot him and shattered his kneecap, according to a lawsuit filed in Illinois state court Thursday.

The suit, filed by Amir's mother, Crystal Worship, alleges that SWAT team officers from the Country Club Hills and Richton Park police departments burst into their house on the night of May 26, throwing flashbangs and detaining the family, including Amir and his 13-year-old brother, at gunpoint. The officers were executing a narcotics search warrant for Worship's boyfriend, Mitchell Thurman, who was subsequently arrested for illegal gun and drug possession.

According to the lawsuit, a SWAT team officer shot Worship in his bedroom after the room had been secured and "and long after it was obvious that a 12-year-old child posed no threat." 

"In fact, 12-year-old Amir was shot, shot while sitting on the edge of the bed with his hands up," the lawsuit says. "An officer shot him with his assault rifle, striking him in the knee and shattering his knee cap. At that moment, this officer was pointing his rifle directly at shirtless Amir as he sat on the edge of his brother's bed."

The suit also alleges that after the officer shot Amir, he covered his body camera and put black tape over his badge number. The Worship family's attorney, Al Hofeld, Jr., told Reason that the police departments denied records requests for body camera footage from the incident.

Worship's 13-year-old brother was also detained at a police station for five hours before being released, the family says. The criminal case against Thurman was later dismissed.

The lawsuit claims that, in addition to several emotional trauma, Amir Worship faces months of intense physical therapy and will walk with a limp for the rest of his life. "Amir will never be able to play sports again," the suit says. "This part of his childhood has been taken from him forever. He will never again experience the sheer physical joy of walking or running normally."

"Our lives changed," Worship said, fighting back tears, at a Thursday news conference announcing the lawsuit. "It will never be the same."

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of civil rights cases brought by Chicago-area families claiming they were terrorized during violent SWAT raids that were often based on sloppy or incorrect information.

"There is a silent epidemic of trauma being perpetrated upon the children and families of color by Chicago and South Suburban police barreling into the wrong homes, handcuffing innocent adults, holding guns on children, handcuffing children, trashing their homes, refusing to show warrants, and screaming dehumanizing commands," Hofeld said in a press release. "Now, children are being shot in their beds."

Chicago's Inspector General Joe Ferguson announced his office is investigating how Chicago police vet information and execute search warrants. The investigation was sparked by a string of lawsuits and a year-long series of stories by local news outlet CBS 2 that revealed a pattern of Chicago police executing busting into the wrong houses and terrorizing innocent families.

Sloppy, unverified search warrants led heavily armed Chicago police and SWAT officers to ransack houses; hold families, including children, at gunpoint; and handcuff an eight-year-old child in one case, CBS 2 found. In another case, 17 Chicago police officers burst into a family's house with their guns drawn during a 4-year-old's birthday party.

Last month, Hofeld filed another lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago family who say police raided their home three times in four months looking for someone the family didn't even know.

Chicago settled a civil lawsuit last June by one family who claimed CPD officers stormed their house and pointed a gun at a three-year-old girl for $2.5 million

"Every one of these incidents is an aggravator and a perpetuator of mistrust that exists," Ferguson said announcing the inspector general investigation. "It really calls for a greater accountability and examination."

The Washington Post reported that the Illinois State Police has an open investigation into the raid on the Worship family.

The Country Club Hills Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Richton Park Police Department said it had no comment at this time.

"Someone should be held responsible," Crystal Worship said.

NEXT: Workplace Immigration Raids Prove America Is Still Land of Opportunity

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.

  1. Officer with an assault riffle shoots a kid, will we see any gun violence commentary about this story?

    1. Maybe not, these are the people you empower to remove guns from homes. Perhaps you should expect more of it the more we crack down on guns.

      1. This. The much vaunted “red flag” laws are certainly going to lead to more of this, and not just against “white rednecks in flyover country”.

        1. The targets of gun laws are rarely white rednecks in flyover country.

      2. Exactly. If you don’t want an army to break into your house and shoot your son, you shouldn’t have had a firearm. It’s in the Constitution!

        1. Not sure what your point is.

          1. Your comment seemed to insinuate that I am or have in the past advocating for gun control and a police state which is absurd.

            1. The comment had nothing to do with you per se. I was using your comment as a lead in.

  2. CPD officers stormed their house and pointed a gun at a three-year-old girl for $2.5 million.

    Where is a three-year-old going to get that kind of money? Dealing drugs, that’s where.

    1. $2.5 million is a lot of money for a poor family, but this is part of the reason why there’ll never be any real accountability. One side can bribe the other side with other people’s money to just shut up and go away.

  3. 17 Chicago police officers burst into a family’s house with their guns drawn during a 4-year-old’s birthday party.

    I’ll bet you believe that laws shouldn’t apply to people with kids.

    1. Nice try. It should be easy for Officer Pointy to verify the kid is not a threat. Once verified (which takes seconds), the gun would never be pointed at the kid again. If we had officers who actually cared about doing it right.

    2. No, I don’t believe that, but I find it hard to believe that the police have to send SWAT teams to homes to arrest people, too.

      Whatever happened to carefully monitoring a person, and then arresting them after they leave their home? But, nope, that technique is only reserved for suspects the police believe are *really* dangerous!

  4. “An officer shot him with his assault rifle, striking him in the knee and shattering his knee cap. At that moment, this officer was pointing his rifle directly at shirtless Amir as he sat on the edge of his brother’s bed.”

    No fucking duh

    1. And since the kid had been verified as not a threat, the pointed gun and finger on the trigger of Officer Shooty McShootyface makes for criminal negligence. Again, if we had prosecutors who actually cared about doing the right thing.

  5. They should charge the 12 year old with accessory to bodily harm (for the gun shot he conspired to get) and to drug and weapons related charges (since I’m sure he conspired with mom’s boyfriend).

    1. drug and weapons related charges (since I’m sure he conspired with mom’s boyfriend).

      That’s not far from the truth in some cases. Drug dealers will use young kids as mules since they are less likely to be stopped by police, and will get a lighter sentence if they are caught. 12-13 is right at the age where they start getting recruited into gangs and that is usually one of their first jobs. It explains why the police want to treat them as suspects (although doesn’t justify treating them as dangerous suspects)

  6. “In another case, 17 Chicago police officers burst into a family’s house with their guns drawn during a 4-year-old’s birthday party.”

    Damn party crashers.

  7. …the Illinois State Police has an open investigation into the raid on the Worship family.

    Good luck pulling off the black tape.

  8. “It really calls for a greater accountability and examination.”

    Yeah, ain’t nobody accepting the charges on that particular call.

  9. I will throw a fucking house party the day “qualified immunity” gets thrown into the dung heap it so richly deserves.

    1. I would say give me your address. But I know that party is not gonna happen.

      1. There at 17 officers ready to join that party.

  10. Wait. The cops actually carry black tape pre-cut to hide badge numbers???

    1. I imagine they have electrical tape as part of a roadside toolkit in their cars, and since it tears pretty easily there’s no need for it to be pre-cut

      1. They keep it on hand to be able to tape grenades in suspect’s mouths, to incent them to talk

        1. How exactly is someone supposed to talk with a grenade in their mouth? Someone hasn’t thought this through very well..

          1. Officer Explody McExplodyface sees nothing wrong with this setup.

        2. Ending of Wanted:Dead or Alive with Rutger Hauer and Kiss’s Gene Simmons.

          1. Huh, linky no work. Try again

  11. So, that’s why they’re called “heros”.

  12. When the pig brags to pretty girls in bars about putting his life on the line”™, and bravely doing his ‘duty’, I’m sure he’ll leave out some parts.

  13. “…Worship’s boyfriend, Mitchell Thurman, who was subsequently arrested for illegal gun and drug possession. The criminal case against Thurman was later dismissed.”

    Should I infer the family was already compensated with the get out of jail free card or was it just the result of more incompetent/unlawful police work that could not be used for leverage?

    1. I would assume the later. Cops lie.

  14. Apparently Vic Mackey and his strike team are not defunct.
    Nothing about charges or even an investigation for the boy’s kneecapping.

    Oh, I know. The gubmint was waiting to proceed based on the disposition of this case;
    “A woman whose 10-year-old child was shot by a police officer will receive no compensation for her child’s medical bills after a federal court ruled last week in Corbitt v. Vickers that the officer was protected by qualified immunity.”

    If you need more cardio this one should do. It will also serve as a personal safety warning to be more careful when costumed criminals come to protect and serve.

    https://www.blacklistednews.com/article/74199/cop-broke-no-laws-when-he-went-to-innocent-familys-home-shot-husband-through-a.html

    1. How are these cops different from mass shooters?

      1. Qualified immunity.

      2. Actual automatic weapons.

    2. It’s enraging that judges and juries give a free walk to uniformed criminals who needlessly shoot someone and then get caught in multiple outright lies. Why does this happen? Are judges that sorry? Are juries really that brainwashed and stupid? Are prosecutors not pushing like they would if the accused wasn’t a cop of some kind?

  15. “Twelve-year-old Amir Worship”

    Unusual last name. At least his parents didn’t name him Richard.

  16. What’s the point of getting a job that lets you pretend to be Rambo if you never get to shoot anybody?

  17. Question 1: How many homicides are committed every year by mass shooters?

    Question 2: How many homicides are committed every year by police?

    1. Q2: Zero. If the police do it, it’s not homicide.

  18. This is proof-positive that the following needs to happen:
    1. No-knock warrants need to be summarily eradicated. They do far more harm than good.
    2. Every level of law enforcement needs to be stripped of any option to self-police and write their own use of force policies.
    3. There needs to be an independent civilian oversight board who performs these functions and has the teeth to take badges, end law enforcement careers of every cop up to and including a police chief.
    4. Officers who act in bad faith or with such a level of negligence as this incident should lose their immunity and have to pay any and all damages out of their own pockets.
    MOST IMPORTANTLY: VET YOUR POLITICAL CANDIDATES AT EVERY LEVEL AND ONLY VOTE FOR THOSE WHO AGREE WITH THESE STRATEGIES! IF YOU KEEP PUTTING THE SAME GARBAGE IN OFFICE THAT WE HAVE NOW, NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE! ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!

    1. No knock search warrants are completely unconstitutional. Just one more area where the WOD has gutted civil rights like Jason on a blonde.

    2. It seems like turning off your body camera would be considered obstruction of justice
      In a parallel universe

  19. Add no. 5 to the list of things that needs to happen: All levels of law enforcement need to be stripped of all their military surplus. We MUST DEMILITARIZE OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AT EVERY LEVEL!

    1. Add no. 6: Hold the judges who grant the search warrants accountable. It seems to me that many judges don’t even really look at whatever the cop puts in front of them.

  20. “Your Honor, this officer had never been instructed that he shouldn’t shoot 12-year-old unarmed black boys with their hands in the air sitting on the edge of a bed while shirtless in the knee.”

    “Qualified Immunity. Case dismissed.”

    1. You know who in that warrant process doesn’t have qualified immunity? I hear they fit in wood chippers.

  21. What no dog to shoot?

  22. Swat should only be used for hostage situations or active shooters not for drug raids. But every cop wants to play combat on city streets

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.