CHICAGO – Bodycam videos released by a local activist Tuesday show how a Chicago police officer drove into a woman more than a year ago, knocking her to the ground and crushing her leg beneath the SUV for more than eight minutes as she bled in the street.
The incident happened the night of Nov. 13, 2019 in the city’s South Shore neighborhood. Resident Martina Standley, 32, suffered a traumatic head injury and severe leg injury, according to her attorney, Andrew Stroth.
According to local reports at the time, witnesses said Standley had been taunting the officers, who drove toward her.
The videos begin without audio as the police SUV pulls up to a sidewalk and pauses. Standley can be seen approaching the right-hand side of the vehicle, from the sidewalk. Standley appears to touch the car, and the driver appears to start the vehicle. Standley falls down out of view, and the driver stops the car and walks around to the other side.
“Girl aint nobody hit you like that,” the driver says as he looks down at Standley, who lies motionless on the road, her leg under the front right tire and blood pooling around her head. The officer begins exclaiming in curses and yells, “Squad can I get an EMS over here.”
Bodycam video from a second officer in the vehicle appears to show the first officer pace near Standley, periodically prodding her. Several more police vehicles arrive, and officers block off the area with caution tape. Officers tell Standley to remain still and tell her that an ambulance is on the way.
Standley was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. She spent time in the ICU and was transferred to a rehabilitation research hospital.
“People said it was like the sound of a gunshot – her head smashed on the ground,” Stroth said. “To this day, a year and several months later, she’s still undergoing therapy and treatment for her injury. Martina Standley will never be the same person she was prior to this accident. She hasn’t been able to go to work. She’s still getting rehab. And that’s due, we believe, to the head trauma.”
Stroth filed suit against the city and the two officers involved within days of the incident and received the bodycam videos in September. The case is in discovery, and Standley was expected to give her deposition next week, Stroth said.
In the wake of the incident, community organizer William Calloway – who along with independent journalists led the push to get Chicago officials to release the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald – filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the videos. He received them in November, when a Cook County judge ordered the department to satisfy the request.
“The incident took place in my community, our neighborhood of South Shore. I was getting conflicting reports, so I took it upon myself to file the request,” Calloway said. “It took about a year. The City of Chicago did make us fight for the release of the bodycam video. It wasn’t something they willfully did. They claimed a four-year exemption that did not meet the criteria, and the judge agreed with us.”
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the police department’s civilian oversight agency, opened an investigation into the incident on Nov. 21, 2019. The agency initially determined that Standley approached the officers in their vehicle and that the officers “were not engaged in police action and the incident did not involve a use of force,” meaning the video was not authorized for release under city policy, the agency said in a statement.
Stroth, however, argues the officers did use force. “An officer with the Chicago Police Department weaponized his 4,700 pound patrol vehicle and ran over Martina Standley, an unarmed and innocent 32-year-old Black woman,” he said.
The COPA investigation is ongoing. The officers involved in the incident remain on full-duty status while the investigation continues, the Chicago Police Department said, offering no further comment.
Asked about the incident in a press conference Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was unfamiliar with the matter.
The video release Tuesday comes as Lightfoot’s administration faces scrutiny for its handling of a February 2019 police raid at the home of Anjanette Young, an innocent social worker who had just returned home from work and undressed when police officers executing a search warrant entered the wrong home and handcuffed her. Last month, city lawyers attempted to stop the release of bodycam video of the incident.
Lightfoot has faced criticism for her changing narratives around what she knew about the Young case and when. She had a private meeting with Young last week and said she had apologized to her.
“Similar to the Anjanette Young case, it took the City of Chicago several months to release the video evidence,” Stroth said. “It’s imperative that Mayor Lightfoot, Supt. David Brown and the Law Department take steps to make sure videos are released in a timely fashion and that Chicago police officers are trained to value the sanctity of life.”
Stroth said Standley wanted people to see the video of the incident so that the officers involved would be held responsible.