Federal suit accuses Chicago cop of hitting and falsely arresting woman during chaotic confrontation at Family Dollar store
“Don’t touch me, don’t touch me,” Julie Campos is heard screaming on police body cam video. “What did I do?”
A federal lawsuit accuses a Chicago police officer of hitting and falsely arresting a woman during a chaotic confrontation with workers who were cleaning up a Family Dollar store after looting in the summer of 2020.
The lawsuit by Julie Campos relies heavily on video from the camera worn by Officer Eric Taylor as he and his partner pulled up to the store at 501 E. 79th St. around 11:40 a.m. on June 2.
Taylor almost immediately gets into a shouting match with a store supervisor and pursues him into the store, where the officer goes up and down looted aisles yelling, “He has to be here somewhere,” according to the video, released during a news conference Thursday.
Not finding him, Taylor rushes up to Campos as she is recording him on her phone. “You don’t stand in front of police effecting an arrest,” he tells Campos, grabbing her arms.
“Don’t touch me, don’t touch me,” Campos screams. “What did I do? What did I do? What did I do?”
“You don’t ask questions of police,” Taylor tells her.
As she’s being led away, Campos yells, “You punched me in the face.”
“You’re a damn liar,” Taylor responds. “We got it on tape.”
“Exactly,” Campos responds.
While the video catches much of the confrontation, it’s unclear if Taylor struck Campos.
The lawsuit, which also names Taylor’s partner and the city of Chicago, claims Campos’ civil rights were violated and that the city’s policies are resulting in an “ongoing failure to ensure safe and constitutional policing.”
“My hope is that this lawsuit will help make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Campos said in a statement released through the ACLU of Illinois. “I’m concerned that something like this could happen to me again. But I’m more afraid for when my Latino son grows up. I’m afraid for what could happen to him if we continue to have police officers like Officer Taylor patrolling this city.”
It’s unclear from the video what sparked the dispute. Shortly after arriving at the store, Taylor is heard yelling at a man in the parking lot, “F—- you think you talking to? If I wanted to arrest you, you’d be in cuffs. Stop talking to me.”
Taylor and the man, an assistant manager, continue to exchange insults as Taylor gets out of his car and approaches. At one point, another officer steps between Taylor and the workers, but Taylor pushes him away, according to the video.
After a few minutes, the assistant manager went back inside the store and the officers went to their squad cars. Campos and the other employees continued cleaning, and she made frequent trips through the back door of the store to the dumpster.
On the police radio, Taylor requests more police to the scene for a “forced arrest.” As his partner tries to calm him, Taylor is heard saying repeatedly, “There’s no way he’s not going.”
Taylor gets out and approaches the back door, apparently to arrest the assistant manager, as Campos stands in the doorway while holding some trash.
“Taylor said, ‘Step back, step back,’ and grabbed Ms. Campos, forcibly pushing her out of the doorway and striking her in the face,” the lawsuit states.
Unable to find the supervisor, Taylor grabs Campos and cuffs her. “She’s going for obstruction,” Taylor is heard saying.
After placing Campos into the back seat of his squad car, Taylor gets behind the wheel but then starts to get back out. “Let’s go, let’s go, don’t get out.”
As he backs up his squad car, Taylor radios a dispatcher and tells her to cancel all other cars on their way to the store “because it’s getting hostile out here.”
The suit alleges Campos was held in custody for hours, keeping her from her 1-year-old son and unable to tell her family where she was. At the time, she was living in a transitional housing program for young people experiencing homelessness, the suit states.
Campos was charged with a misdemeanor count of obstructing a police officer — a charge eventually dismissed by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
“This sort of behavior by CPD officers is the antithesis of public safety and constitutional policing,” ACLU staff attorney Joshua Levin said in a statement. “And the city is directly responsible because it fails to adequately train, supervise and discipline officers like Taylor who have egregious records of misconduct.”
The Chicago Law Department declined to comment, saying it had not yet been served the complaint “through the proper legal channels.”