UNITED STATES NEWS

Police board votes to fire Chicago officer accused of dragging woman by the hair during 2020 unrest

Nov 17, 2023, 12:42 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Police Board voted to fire an officer accused of dragging a Black woman out of a car by her hair during unrest at a mall in 2020.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to fire Officer David Laskus, finding he used excessive force and lied to investigators about the incident, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Mia Wright was a passenger in a car that arrived at the Brickyard Mall on May 31, 2020, during a weekend of protests and unrest following the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

A federal lawsuit that Wright and four relatives filed states that they drove to the mall to go shopping and didn’t realize it was closed due to the unrest. The lawsuit alleged that officers surrounded their car, broke the windows with their batons and pulled Wright out by her hair. Wright said she was left blind in one eye by flying glass caused by officers breaking the windows. Wright was 25 years old at the time.

Officers said they thought some members of Wright’s group were trying to break into a store at the mall to steal goods, the city’s attorney has said. The City Council in March 2022 approved a $1.675 million settlement with Wright and the four others with her that day.

Laskus was not criminally charged, but the police board noted that Laskus denied he pulled Wright by her hair when he spoke to investigators despite video evidence to the contrary.

Laskus can appeal his firing in Cook County Circuit Court.

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Police board votes to fire Chicago officer accused of dragging woman by the hair during 2020 unrest