Monday, May 19, 2014

Lawsuit: Chicago cops physically, verbally abuse woman on video

A Chicago police officer hit a handcuffed, kneeling woman in the head, while another shouted racially charged comments at her and threatened she’d be murdered during a raid of a West Side tanning salon.
And the whole disturbing scene was captured on video, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Filmed by a security camera during a Chicago Police vice raid at the Copper Tan and Spa in Noble Square last summer, the video appears to show one cop smack 32-year-old salon manager Jianqing “Jessica” Klyzek in the head with an open hand as she is on her knees, handcuffed.
Another large officer yelled at the 110 pound, 5-foot-2 Klyzek — a naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from China — “You’re not f------ American!”
The officer then ranted at a screaming and hysterical Klyzek that “I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f--- you came from,” before warning her the spa’s owner “will f------ kill you . . . You’ll be dead, and your family will be dead.”
The video was released to the Sun-Times after Klyzek sued the cops and the city last week, accusing the officers of a hate crime, excessive force and attempting a cover-up by framing her.
While the video shows Klyzek as an uncooperative and unhinged arrestee, and is not as clear-cut as the notorious footage of off-duty cop Anthony Abbate beating a barmaid in 2007, it likely sounds unwanted echoes for police brass.
“I cannot imagine Supt. Garry McCarthy can face the citizens of this city and defend these officers’ actions,” said Klyzek’s attorney, Torreya Hamilton, who is calling for the officers to be fired.
“This city was built by immigrants, and in 2014 we’re treating them like this?” Hamilton added.
Police spokesman Adam Collins said the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating.
“The alleged comments, if true, are reprehensible and completely intolerable in our police department,” Collins said.
“We have codes of conduct that apply to officers, and if the allegations are proven accurate appropriate action will be taken.”
Initially accused of an aggravated battery of the officers, as well as ordinance violations, a bruised Klyzek was quickly cleared by Cook County Judge Paul Pavlus, who found no probable cause for her arrest.
Police then tried again. They pursued charges, and Klyzek was indicted for aggravated battery, alleging she scratched and punched officers on July 31, 2013, during the raid of the business in the 1000 block of North Milwaukee. That charge was also thrown out after prosecutors saw the video, the lawsuit states.
The raid was prompted when an undercover officer was allegedly offered a sex act by a masseuse in a back room, according to a police report.
The video shows plainclothes police march in through the front door, followed by uniformed officers, and attempt to apprehend an apparently confused Klyzek in the salon’s lobby.
“What happened?” Klyzek asked before becoming hysterical. During a prolonged struggle she then yelled “f--- you” and “I want my lawyer,” while one officer cried, “She bit me,” and another shouted, “Guys, she scratched me!”
At one point an officer said, “Can I just Tase her? F--- it. I can Tase her 10 f------ times.”
Temporarily subdued and kneeling, cuffed with her hands behind her back, she was screaming but appeared to be offering no physical resistance when an officer identified in the lawsuit as Frank Messina then smacked her in side of the head from behind.
Moments later another audibly angry officer — alleged in the lawsuit to be Gerald Di Pasquale — ranted that Klyzek is not a citizen and will be sent back to “wherever the f--- you came from” in “a UPS box” or killed by the salon’s owners.
A fellow officer is then heard to say, “Hey Gerry, stop talking to her!”
Officers appeared to have spotted a security camera but were unable to seize the video because it was recorded off-site, according to the complaint.
Neither Messina nor Di Pasquale responded to messages seeking comment this week.
Hamilton acknowledged that Klyzek’s hysteria was not the best response to the raid but said that English is not her first language and that she did not understand what was happening.
“She’s never been arrested before and she hadn’t done anything wrong,” Hamilton said, adding that Klyzek is a licensed masseuse and has been married to a U.S. citizen since 2005.
Court records show the only salon worker charged with prostitution in the raid, Jihua Zhang, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor but later had the conviction expunged.

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