In 2013, Chicago police assaulted, humiliated, and terrorized a black pastor and her young children, an eight-year-old and a one-year-old, as they were driving home one night.
Reverend Catherine Brown said that she and her children were driving down an alley near her home when a police cruiser nearly hit her as she was coming around a corner.
The incident was captured on the cruiser’s dashcam. It shows the cruiser speeding down an alleyway and nearly colliding with a white sedan. The police vehicle did not have its flashing lights or siren on at the time.
Brown said she instinctively honked her horn and slammed on her car brakes to avoid a collision. That’s when she claims officer Michelle Morsi Murphy, jumped out her vehicle and started yelling obscenities:
“The lady officer jumps out of the car. And says ,’B*tch, move that f*cking car back,” said Brown.
Brown was shocked. She stated that she instinctively started reaching for her license, but that’s when the other cop, Officer Jose Lopez, drew his firearm:
“The other officer takes the gun and point it at the front of my head.”
The pastor then called 9-1-1, requesting for additional officers and a police lieutenant to come to the scene, as her terrified children can be heard screaming and crying in the background.
According to Brown, the two officers refused to wait for their supervisor and started trying to force her car door open. Scared for her life, she put her vehicle in reverse and drove backward out of the alley.
“Now [they are] chasing me with the car,” Brown said. “I come to a complete stop, and [Morsi Murphy] takes the car and rams it into me.”
Dashcam video captured the scene, which showed Brown standing partially outside of her vehicle waving and yelling in an attempt to signal the attention of her neighbors. That’s when Murphy shot pepper spray at the pastor in the face, as well as making contact with her one-year-old.
The video shows Officer Lopez standing next to Murphy, smiling and laughing directly into the camera.
Murphy then climbed on top of a nearby parked car and aimed her gun and flashlight at Brown, while other officers who arrived at the scene began to beat the pastor’s car and eventually drag her out of the vehicle in a most undignified manner.
“[They] beat me down to my underwear, pulled my skirt off me,” Brown said. “They beat me with the sticks and hit me with their boots in my head.”
Brown was arrested and charged with attempted murder because Murphy claimed that Brown dragged her when she reversed her vehicle out of the alley. The pastor was acquitted on those charges but convicted of misdemeanor reckless conduct for backing her car out of the alley in an attempt to protect herself and her children. She is currently appealing that conviction.
According to Brown’s attorney, both officers Murphy and Lopez have a long history of alleged misconduct.
Chicago police officials say the are “not able to comment on specifics,” citing the pending litigation. But they insist that they “take allegations of excessive force and discourtesy very seriously,” and said that an investigation is underway by the department’s Independent Review Authority.
With a total of 40 previous complaints lodged against the two officers, who are still employed with the Chicago police department, I’m sure news of the “independent investigation” has helped put Brown’s mind at ease.
Featured image is a screengrab via YouTube.