Another day, another Black man harassed and brutalized by police officers while in the commission of…minding his own business.
Leroy Kennedy IV has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department alleging that he was “traumatized” by the actions of officers who arrested him last August while he was walking to the store. Recently released police body camera footage shows part of the altercation and arrest that led to him spending four days in jail only to have charges of aggravated battery to an officer dismissed later on.
Kennedy spoke with ABC 7 about the incident and what is seen in the body-cam video—which was released without audio—that is now evidence for his lawsuit.
Kennedy said he was walking to a store last August in Humboldt Park when two Chicago Police officers ran up to him, slammed him against a brick wall and smashed his head onto the sidewalk more than once.
“I told him like ‘Sir, I’m not resisting. I just want to get my glasses,’” Kennedy said. “He slammed me again thinking I’m resisting.”
The officers were soon surrounded by angry witnesses at the scene. The video appears to show Kennedy wobbling as he’s led away in handcuffs.
He said he suffered a concussion as well as cuts to his face and hand and wrist injuries.
What should really raise eyebrows is the excuse police officers gave for approaching Kennedy in the first place. According to ABC, the officers said in their police report that they stopped him because he had “a shocked look on his face” when he saw police, and somehow that brought the cops to the conclusion that he might have been “attempting to conceal a firearm.”
Yeeeeeah, nah; you don’t get to just guess at something like that.
“The police couldn’t even pretend he did anything,” Christopher Smith, Kennedy’s attorney, told ABC. “So you have a police report which gives no description of a crime and no reason for approaching him, other than his bulging eyes.”
Black people all over this country will tell you that they don’t need to be doing anything illegal for them to get nervous when police officers come around. To people who don’t understand the toll constant racial profiling takes on Black people and think we’re just being paranoid, it’s worth pointing out that Kennedy—who was literally just walking and not “attempting to conceal a firearm”—ended up bruised up and in jail after the altercation with cops we supposedly have no reason to fear.
“It left me feeling traumatized, man, I ain’t gonna lie,” Kennedy said. “You get nervous. You get even more nervous once you see the police.”