While Chicago officers' initial statement regarding an incident with a Marshall High School student placed blame for the initiation of violence on the student, newly released surveillance footage tells a different story.
The Chicago Sun-Times obtained and published the video Thursday, noting that it "appears to contradict" the officers' previous statements on the January incident. Originally, the officers—Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp—were said to have been called to the school to escort 16-year-old Dnigma Howard off the campus due to suspension, at which point Howard was then alleged to have exhibited behavior that caused her and the officers to tumble down the stairs.
The new footage, however, shows the officers in a violent altercation with the student before pulling her down the stairs. From a different angle, the officer is then seen dragging the student to the bottom of the stairs. The other officer is seen on top of the student hitting her. In previously released phone video of the incident, officers are seen hitting and tasing the student.
An amended federal suit filed by the student’s attorney Andrew M. Stroth names Chicago Public Schools and both officers, alleging a violation of her civil rights. In a statement to BuzzFeed News Thursday, Stroth said the fact that an unarmed teen was treated with violence by these officers shows a "clear failure" of city, school, and departmental leadership.
When Complex asked for additional comment on the footage, a Chicago Public Schools rep confirmed that the CPS Office of the Inspector General was conducting a review.
"CPS is committed to creating a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and we are deeply disturbed and troubled by this incident which has no place in our schools," the rep told Complex via email. "The CPS Office of the Inspector General is conducting a review of the situation upon the district's request, and we are fully cooperating in the investigation by the City's Civilian Office of Police Accountability."