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A new surveillance video shows that Chicago police reported a very different version of a violent confrontation with a Marshall High School student that they claimed she instigated.
Two officers reported that 16-year-old Dnigma Howard started the encounter that resulted in the officer’s use of excessive force, pushing and dragging the student down the stairs of the school, punching and then ultimately stunning her with a taser several times.
However, Howard’s attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, filed a federal lawsuit after a surveillance video contradicted the officer’s statements.
The officers said in their report that Howard, “became irate and initiated a physical altercation with the officers.”
“Those officers filed a false statement,” Stroth said. “Their statements are completely untrue and are completely contradicted by what is shown on the video. The saving grace for Dnigma is that this was caught on camera.”
The video appears to show an unarmed 16-year-old girl was beaten, kicked, punched and tasered by officers, Stroth said in a statement.
“The Board of Education and CPD continue to fail our children,” he said.
According to the lawsuit, and the video obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, it appears the officers also held Howard down, while stepping on her chest, according to an amended lawsuit filed Thursday by Stroth. The attorney said the girl’s father was nearby but the officers failed to ask the father for assistance.
The officers’ statements said that Howard started the confrontation but a second floor camera at shows a different tale.
Another video shows an officer pulling on Howard’s leg down a flight of stairs. An officer can be seen stepping on Howard’s chest as another pummels her. Then Howard is shocked with a stun gun.
The lawsuit names the city, Chicago Public Schools and officers Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp, and accuses them of violating the 16-year-old’s civil rights.
Howard was first charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery against the officers but those charges were subsequently dropped “in the interest of justice,” prosecutors previously said.
CPS spokeswoman Emily Bolton said confirmed that district’s inspector general is investigating the case.
“We are deeply disturbed and troubled by this incident which has no place in our schools,” she said in a statement.