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Police tase man twice in Little Village; COPA investigating

The man, identified by police as Angel Ramirez, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing an officer.

A video screengrab shows a Chicago police officer and Angel Ramirez at a gas station in Little Village. Ramirez was sprayed with pepper spray and twice tased by police.
A Facebook video shows Chicago police officers used pepper spray and twice tased Angel Ramirez at a Little Village gas station on July 3, 2019.
via Facebook

Chicago’s police oversight agency is investigating the tasing of a man who was recording officers making a traffic stop at a Little Village gas station.

Angel Ramirez, 30, is seen in the video standing near several Chicago police officers at a gas station on the southeast corner of West 28th Street and South Pulaski Road on July 3.

Ramirez is recording the traffic stop on his cellphone. His wife, Anna Morentin, is also recording the incident from inside another car.

Morentin’s video shows a police officer approaching Ramirez and telling him to “back away.”

“We’re at a crime scene,” the officer tells Ramirez.

As Ramirez walks back, the same police officer places his hands on Ramirez’s chest.

“Don’t touch me, officer,” Ramirez says.

The same police officer then comes toward Ramirez, reaching for his cell phone and pushing him back by the waist.

The video then pans to the right and records Ramirez being restrained by two police officers.

“You’re gonna be resisting, knock it off!” an officer says.

“What did I do?” Ramirez yells.

Ramirez is sprayed with pepper spray and twice tased by officers, according the video.

A child is then heard crying and yelling “Daddy!” from inside the car.

Morentin uploaded the video to Facebook on July 4. It has garnered over 330,000 views.

In a statement, police said Ramirez was “walking aggressively toward the officers,” which prompted their response.

“Several times, officers requested the male to get back, and the male refused to leave the scene. The officers then began to place [Ramirez] into custody, and he resisted. Officers deployed OC spray which was unsuccessful, so officers then deployed a taser,” police said.

Ramirez was treated at St. Anthony’s Hospital and released later that night.

A spokesman for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said Wednesday the agency had not been made aware of the video. On Thursday, COPA told the Sun-Times it was opening a preliminary investigation into the incident.

“Although COPA does not investigate all taser discharges, we will review the incident to determine if it is within our jurisdiction or if the case will be referred to the Bureau of Internal Affairs,” Ephraim Eaddy, the agency’s public information officer, said in an email.

The agency has yet to release footage from the officers’ body cameras and dash cameras.

Chicago Now was the first to report about the video.

CPD spokeswoman Sgt. Cindy Guerra defended the officer’s actions.

“Anyone can record an on-duty law enforcement officer in public places where there is no expectation of privacy. However, a law enforcement officer is also authorized to take reasonable action in order to secure a scene, ensure safety of other officers and arrestees, and to maintain order during the commission of their particular duties,” she said.

Ramirez has not returned requests to comment. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing an officer and is due back in court on Aug. 20.

Posted by Anna Morentin on Thursday, July 4, 2019

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides.