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A surveillance video obtained by BuzzFeed News shows two Chicago police officers initiated violence against a 16-year-old girl as she was walking away, contradicting their claims and charges against her.
The incident happened at Marshall High School on Jan. 29, when 16-year-old Dnigma Howard was sent home for having her cellphone out in class. Her father was called to pick her up, and the two school police officers, Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp, were there to escort her out. According to Pierre and Tripp, Howard attacked them, causing all three of them to fall down the stairs.
However, Howard has maintained that she was asked to speak to a school counselor, a resource she is required to have available to her as a part of her Individualized Education Program. The officers refused, and when she tried to head in that direction, they attacked her.
Now, more than two months after officers Pierre and Tripp brought two felony aggravated battery charges against the teenager, surveillance video shows that her side of the story is the truth. The video shows Howard speaking with the officers, then turning to walk away. She only takes one step before Pierre grabs her and wrestles her towards the stairs, then drags her down an entire flight of stairs by her wrist.
At the bottom of the stairs, the officers pin her to the ground, violently stepping on her chest and striking her with closed fists repeatedly. Howard’s father, Laurentio Howard, arrived as the attack was unfolding, and when he tried to stop them to take his daughter off campus, they told him to stand back. With her father watching, the officers continued to hit the teen and used a stun gun on her repeatedly.
Laurentio is suing the officers, the city of Chicago, and the Chicago Board of Education over the violence enacted against his daughter, as well as the false charges they brought against her. The family attorney, Andrew Stroth, said that the video makes clear that Howard’s swinging at the officers was clearly in self-defense after an unprovoked attack. “If she would have been convicted of those charges it would have ruined this young lady’s life but thank god for the video,” said Stroth to BuzzFeed News.
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H/T BuzzFeed News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.