The female officer who Chicago’s top cop said didn’t use her gun to defend herself for fear of a public backlash suffered a severe concussion after her attacker repeatedly slammed her head onto concrete pavement until she lost consciousness and pulled chunks of hair from her head, according to Cook County prosecutors.
The officer, a 17-year veteran, also suffered bone chips to the shoulder and wrist, a neck injury, and bruises and abrasions, prosecutors said.
A second male officer also suffered severe injuries in the attack Wednesday by a Maywood man moments after he crashed a car into a Cicero liquor store, prosecutors said. The officer also suffered a concussion, a broken right thumb, a torn quadriceps muscle, cuts and bruises, they said.
A judge ordered Parta Huff held without bail on charges of attempted murder of a police officer and multiple counts of aggravated battery to a police officer. Authorities said he tested positive for PCP.
“This conduct cannot be tolerated,” Judge Donald Panarese Jr. said.
Prosecutors gave this account of what happened:
The two uniformed officers were flagged down and alerted to the crash of a car into the front doors of Roosevelt Liquors at Cicero Avenue and Roosevelt Road.
Huff, the lone occupant of the car, was walking from the scene but ignored the officers’ commands to stop.
As the female officer tried to place a second cuff on Huff’s wrist, he pulled away and punched the male officer in the face. That officer then deployed his Taser, striking Huff, but he pulled the prongs from his body and continued to struggle with the female officer, knocking her to the street. Huff then fell on her, injuring her shoulder.
Huff repeatedly struck the female officer in the face before grabbing her by the hair and slamming her head onto the concrete until she lost consciousness.
The male officer then deployed his Taser a second time, but Huff continued to pull chunks of hair from the female officer’s head and strike her head on the pavement.
Additional officers arrived and tried to pull Huff by his legs, but he continued to resist. Another officer deployed a Taser for the third time.
On Thursday, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the patrol officer told him she did not use her gun to defend herself for fear of a backlash.
“As I was at the hospital last night, visiting with her, she looked at me and said she thought she was gonna die, and she knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news,” Johnson said while attending a public ceremony honoring heroic officers and firefighters.
Johnson’s comments came as incidents of officers shooting civilians are under a national spotlight, and a day after the Chicago City Council approved the first part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to revamp a police accountability system that critics say has long been ineffective.
The U.S. Justice Department launched a probe of the department after video was released of police shooting a teenager walking away from them with a knife, with complaints about the department’s treatment of citizens going back years.
The head of the Chicago Police Department’s largest union said Thursday that Johnson’s comments echo what he’s been saying for months. Police “don’t want to become the next YouTube video,” said Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. “If you participate in a deadly force situation, you can save your life, but in 2016, you can lose your job.”
Civil rights activists, however, argue police already lost community trust after decades of abuse.
“Any fair-minded person acknowledges that police have a very difficult and dangerous job, and this sounds like a very unfortunate situation,” Jon Loevy, a civil rights lawyer, said. “The hope is that the department and the community can work to repair some of the lost trust so that officers won’t always feel so second-guessed.”
After officers saw a car crash into a building, they tried to talk to the 28-year-old Huff, who was walking away from the crash. Huff, hitting the female officer’s head against the pavement, police said. The officer’s partner hit the man with a Taser and pepper spray, and Huff was arrested. Two other officers were injured.
(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune
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