Oak Lawn police release dashcam video that shows officers hitting teen during arrest

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Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Oak Lawn Police Department Thursday afternoon in response to a video that shows officers hitting a teenager who police say had a gun when they tried to take him into custody.

A witness captured video that shows Oak Lawn police officers hitting a 17-year-old as he was being taken into custody around 6 p.m. Wednesday. The teen is in the hospital and his family is demanding answers.

Police say he had a semi-automatic gun at the time and charges in the case are pending.

Later Thursday, Oak Lawn police released dashcam video of the violent arrest they said began with a traffic stop. Police said the car did not have a valid registration and they could smell cannabis coming from the vehicle.

As police searched the driver, police said 17-year-old Hadi Abuadaleh got out of the backseat and took off running. Dashcam video from other officers shows chasing the teen around the area of 95th Street.

Another dashcam video then picks up when Abuadaleh is already on the ground near 95th Street and McVicker. Two officers can be seen pinning him on the ground, with one officer punching his legs as another repeatedly hits him in the head.

While difficult to see in the video, police said the teen had a bag around his body that he refused to release. At one point, the audio cuts off on the video, but police can be heard yelling "pressure point" as they attempted to get him to release the bag.

"At that point in time, they used control tactics, they used leg strikes, they used strikes, they tried to release his hands. He wouldn't release them," Oak Lawn Police Chief Daniel Vittorio said. "The second officer then drive-stunned him with a Taser, which is part of his training. At that point in time, the offender then complied, he was cuffed, and as you saw, he was put in the squad car."

Police said they recovered a semi-automatic handgun from inside the bag that was loaded with three rounds of ammunition.

Myriah Deal said she was pumping gas at a station near 95th Street and McVicker when she saw a teenager running away from police.

"As he's running, I see the police grab him, but he stopped," Deal said. "There was no resistance. There was nothing. He was calm. And the next thing I know they tackled him on the ground and they started beating him."

Pulling out her cell phone, Deal captured about a minute of the confrontation that shows the teen on the ground with two officers punching him. A third officer comes up to assist the first two. The video does not show what happened before the confrontation.

"He has fractures all over his face," said Dena Natour, the teen's mother. "He is bruised. He's in the hospital right now with a neck brace. He's not very alert. He's in a lot of pain."

The video later shows a third officer appearing to pick up something off the street.

Activists from the Council on American-Islamic Relations denounced the police officers' actions Thursday as they joined Abuadaleh's family and their attorney to call on the officers involved to be suspended.

"This isn't about what somebody may be doing. It's about how apprehension, how someone is arrested, what happens post-arrest," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director at CAIR-Chicago.

"Officers are allowed to use force to subdue people, but they're not allowed to use excessive force," said Zaid Abdallah, an attorney for the family. "And this was extremely excessive and savage."

Police said charges are pending against Abuadaleh, but because he is a minor and remains hospitalized, investigators have not yet been able to interview him.

Protesters are calling for the officers involved in the incident to be removed from duty until there is a full accounting of what happened.

Oak Lawn police said one officer was injured in the incident. Chief Vittorio said there will be a use of force investigation, but he believes the officers handled the incident according to their training.

Full statement from Oak Lawn police

On Wednesday July 27th an Oak Lawn Police Officer conducted a traffic stop in the area of Southwest Highway and Austin Ave. During the stop a subject fled on foot.

After a brief foot pursuit the offender was apprehended in the area of 95th St and McVicker Ave. The subject refused to listen to verbal commands which resulted in a physical confrontation with two officers.

The subject was armed at the time, unlawfully, with a semiautomatic handgun during the incident.

Both the subject and one officer were transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries.

Our investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.

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