14-year-old Park Ridge, Illinois honor student is victim of excessive force by off-duty Chicago Police Officer
Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, a national personal injury firm primarily based in Chicago, is calling for accountability and justice related to excessive force conduct used by an alleged off-duty Chicago Police Officer on a 14-year-old honor student in Park Ridge, Illinois on July 1. The boy is Puerto Rican-American and the officer is white. The incident happened outside the Starbucks at Euclid and Northwest Highway, and the videotape of the encounter has gone viral, showing the man forcefully taking the boy to the ground, putting him in a prone position on his stomach and then putting a knee on the boy’s back. The officer told people at the scene he believed the boy had stolen his son’s bike. The 14-year-old victim, who is a Straight-A student, a three-sport athlete and active in his church youth ministry, said he only touched the bike in question because it was on the sidewalk and was trying to pass by with his own bike with his friends. The boy's friends moved in calmly and cohesively to remove the boy from under the officer's knee and de-escalate the situation. The boy’s parents are calling for accountability from the officer and for justice for their son, including releasing the officer’s name and filing criminal charges for his conduct involving a child.
You can view the video of the incident, which has gone viral on multiple social media platforms, at https://www.rblaw.net/news-14-year-old-honor-student-pinned-by-off-duty.
“The off-duty officer used excessive force on a child and escalated the situation where this type of aggression was clearly not necessary. The boy was not a threat, was not armed, had committed no crime. Furthermore, after the murder of George Floyd from prone restraint, the whole world knows how dangerous a knee in the back or neck can be. There is no excuse for the use of this dangerous tactic ever, but certainly not in this situation,” said Partner Bhavani K. Raveendran, Romanucci & Blandin.
“This is a clear cut case of racial profiling. The off-duty officer is white and boy was the only person of color in a group of teenagers. Chicago police have a history of racial bias and they continue to racially profile people, even outside of Chicago, and that culture permeates officers’ lives. And beyond that, this was clearly an unlawful restraint with the officer used his training to detain a young man without probable cause. We are calling for full accountability and investigation into this incident and release of officer's history with CPD,” said Founding Partner Antonio M. Romanucci, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.
“We see the bias in an off-duty officer taking advantage of our brown boy, with afro hair, smaller in stature, choosing to take the law into his own hands with physical force—a clear abuse of his position of authority - the authority meant to PROTECT my son, not harm him. It’s ironic that the type of person we are raising our boys to be—thoughtful, respectful young men who are quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger—is the opposite of the example this Chicago police officer set. But regardless of the circumstances, getting physical with anyone, let alone a minor as an adult for any reason other than self-defense is completely unacceptable. Add to that, a position of power meant to serve and protect our communities, our youth,” said Angel and Nicole Nieves, parents of the boy.
To learn more about legal options in cases of excessive force, please visit https://www.rblaw.net/practices-excessive-force.