Video shows police SUV striking, critically injuring woman

Martina Standley’s leg was pinned under the Chicago Police Department vehicle for at least 9 minutes.

SHARE Video shows police SUV striking, critically injuring woman

A community activist on Tuesday released a dramatic video the city had fought to keep private that shows a Chicago police SUV striking and critically injuring a woman in the South Shore neighborhood in 2019.

The body camera video shows a police SUV pull forward from a parked position into Martina Standley after she touched a searchlight affixed to the vehicle.

The officer who was behind the wheel exits the vehicle and walks over to Standley’s motionless body and says, “Girl, ain’t nobody hit you like that.”

He then proclaims: “Oh, s---. F---.”

The officer can then be heard requesting an ambulance on his radio.

“We hit a pedestrian. ... I tried to put the car in reverse. F---, lady. You OK?” the officer says. 

“You OK? Can you breathe? Can you talk?” the officer asks as he pokes an unconscious Standley in the stomach, her right leg wedged beneath the police vehicle’s tire. 

“F---, I did not mean to do that s---,” the officer says. “Definitely an accident,” the officer tells a bystander who accuses him of hitting the woman.

A pool of blood forms under Standley’s head as she regains some consciousness.

“She came banging on the window like ‘Boom boom boom.’ I thought I was in reverse. I tried to turn the wheel. It wasn’t nothing like no running from nobody or nothing like that,” the officer tells another officer.

The police vehicle remains on Standley’s leg for over 4 minutes before the officer asks a sergeant if he should move the vehicle. She was pinned under the vehicle for at least 9 minutes.

The encounter happened about 6 p.m. Nov. 13, 2019, in the 2000 block of East 71st Street.

Martina Standley

Martina Standley

Provided by Andrew M. Stroth

Community activist William Calloway filed a Freedom of Information request for the video days after the incident. Police denied the request, citing an ongoing investigation. Calloway then filed a lawsuit seeking its release and won.

“I want justice and transparency,” Calloway said Tuesday, noting the city has a history of not releasing videos that shine an unfavorable light on the police.

Release of the video comes just weeks after the release of another video showing police handcuffing a naked Anjanette Young during a mistaken raid on the social worker’s home.

After the 2019 incident, a police spokesperson said it was unclear what Standley and the officers were talking about in the moments before she was struck, but Standley was not considered a suspect in a criminal matter.

Standley, who was 32 when the incident occurred, survived but is still undergoing physical therapy, according to her attorney, Andrew M. Stroth.

Stroth said it was unclear what was said in the moments before the police SUV struck Standley, and Standley can’t remember the exchange.

Stroth said regardless of what was said, Standley was unarmed and did nothing to provoke such a response.

“I think the cop realized that he made a significant mistake and that he can be held responsible,” Stroth said Tuesday.

In a lawsuit filed days after the incident, Stroth claimed the officer at the wheel “committed willful and wanton conduct exhibiting an actual or deliberate intent to harm, or through a course of action which showed an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of another.”

The officer also violated a police order that provides guidelines for how officers are to respond to people who need mental health treatment, the suit states. 

Standley is bipolar, Stroth said.

“She’s well known. She’s not a threat in any way. And that’s just it, they know her. The beat cops know her,” Standley’s cousin, Joslyn Ewing, told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2019.

Stroth said the city gave him a copy of the video 10 months after the incident as part of the discovery process for the pending lawsuit. There was no protective order placed by the court on the video, Stroth said, meaning he could have released it publicly. 

Asked why he didn’t release the video, Stroth said he was focused on litigation.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is still investigating the incident “to determine if officers were engaged in misconduct and/or other administrative violations including inattentive to duties,” spokesman Ephraim M. Eaddy said.

Eaddy said COPA determined the video wasn’t covered by the agency’s 60-day release policy because the officers weren’t involved in a police action or a use of force.

The officers involved remain on full-duty status while the investigation continues, a police spokesperson said Tuesday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office didn’t immediately respond to questions.

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