Out Of Control: Chicago Cops Drew Firearms On Unarmed Reverend And Her Two Small Children

Matt Vespa
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Posted: May 09, 2016 3:02 PM
Out Of Control: Chicago Cops Drew Firearms On Unarmed Reverend And Her Two Small Children

The Chicago Police Department has certainly seen better days. A string of police-involved shootings sparked outrage against law enforcement and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, especially over how the city handled the Laquan McDonald shooting in October of 2014. That incident has led to local lawmakers drafting proposals to allow Chicago voters to recall the mayor. There was also the insinuation that the release of the police tape showing the death of McDonald was politically motivated, an allegation that was accentuated when emails showed coordination between CPD and the mayor’s office—with the latter acknowledging that the video would be “politically explosive.” Another questionable police shooting would occur during Christmas time, with the revelation that Rahm’s office may have botched another investigation into an officer-involved fatality four years ago. A review panel was assembled to conduct a review of the department, which released their findings in April. They accused the department of institutional racism.

Now, we’re revisiting a 2013 incident, where an unarmed mother and her children found themselves in a situation that ended up with her being allegedly beaten by police. They also drew their firearms during the debacle that landed the mother with an attempted murder charge.

The woman, Reverend Catherine Brown, was driving down an alley she’s been using for 41 years, when a squad car driven by Officers Michelle Murphy and Jose Lopez was barreling down in the opposite direction. Brown blew her horn to avoid being hit. Brown said Officer Murphy exited the vehicle, shouting “b**ch, move that f**king car back.” As she reached for her license, Officer Lopez drew his firearm and aimed it at her head. Keep in mind, that Brown had her two children in the car. Brown dialed 911, asking for the police and the lieutenant to come to her aid in this scary situation, but officers began forcing her car door open. She threw the vehicle in reverse. Officers then chased her, crashing their vehicle in the car still containing Brown’s two small children, one as young as one-years old at the time. She’s then taken into custody, but not after officers pepper spray her.

“Beat me down to my underwear, tore my skirt off of me,” said Brown. She has since filed a lawsuit against the department, noting that the department should be more accountable after various complaints were lobbed at Officers Murphy and Lopez. Brown was later charged with attempted murder after Officer Murphy claimed that she dragged her. She was found not guilty of that charge, but convicted of reckless conduct, which she intends to fight.

Law enforcement is a tough job, and the people who decide to potentially put themselves in harm's way to protect us are heroes. But this seems to be an excessive use of force. We'll see how this all pans out.