A Black man has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Chicago and two police officers, alleging he was subjected to excessive force when the officers ran up to him, slammed him against a brick wall and smashed his head into the sidewalk multiple times. Newly released body camera footage of the violent arrest is now a key piece of evidence in the suit.
Leroy Kennedy IV, whose violent arrest last August in Chicago was captured on video by body camera, filed the lawsuit on Feb. 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Kennedy claims he did nothing wrong prior to an arrest that resulted in him spending four days in jail. Charges of aggravated battery against an officer and resisting arrest were later dropped. A police report indicated that officers confronted Kennedy because he “had a shocked look on his face” upon seeing police.
“It left me feeling traumatized. Man, I ain’t gonna lie. You get nervous. You get even more nervous once you see the police,” Kennedy said. He said he suffered a concussion and injuries to his face, hands and wrists.
Body camera footage did not capture the audio of the encounter.
Footage shows the officers approach Kennedy, who was walking down the street to a store in Humboldt Park on Aug. 23.
An officer grabbed Kennedy around the back of his neck and slammed him against the brick wall behind him. In the lawsuit, Kennedy claims he was then slammed against the sidewalk multiple times.
“I told him like, ‘Sir, I’m not resisting. I just want to get my glasses,'” Kennedy told ABC7. “He slammed me again thinking I’m resisting.” After the arrest, Kennedy was taken to a hospital for treatment.
In a tweet containing a clip of the footage of Kennedy’s arrest, attorney Benjamin Crump called the arrest “violent and vicious.”
“The bodycam video shows the kind of vile, inhumane treatment that has left him SEVERELY traumatized,” Crump wrote. “These officers must be held accountable!”
In addition to the “shocked look” police indicated that they thought Kennedy was attempting to conceal a firearm when he “adjusted his hands and manipulated his front lap area.”
No weapons or dugs were found at the scene. Angry bystanders can be seen in the footage surrounding Kennedy and the officers before he was led away in handcuffs.
Footage from after the arrest that included audio captured another member of law enforcement who arrived on the scene after the arrest asking the officers involved why they arrested Kennedy.
“What was he arrested for?” the officer asked. Upon the officer’s unintelligible response to the question, the officer said, “So you don’t know what you arrested him for?”
Kennedy’s lawyer Christopher Smith told ABC7, “The police can’t even pretend he did anything. You have a police report with no description of a crime and no reason to approach him other than his bulging eyes.”
Criminal charges against Kennedy were dropped in December. The lawsuit seeks “compensatory damages and because defendants acted maliciously, wantonly, or oppressively, and punitive damages against the individual (officers) in their individual capacities.”
A spokesperson for the Chicago Police said in a statement that the department “cannot comment on pending or proposed litigation.”