Chicago police probing claims cops failed to intervene in viral weekend attack downtown

A couple who was attacked, and a good Samaritan who came to their aid, have said officers drove past the melee Saturday night in the 100 block of North Wabash Avenue.

SHARE Chicago police probing claims cops failed to intervene in viral weekend attack downtown

A screen grab of a viral video shows an attack on a couple Saturday on Wabash Avenue downtown.


The Chicago Police Department is investigating accusations that officers drove past a couple being attacked by a large group of people during chaotic downtown gatherings over the weekend that left two teenagers with gunshot wounds and drew national attention.

Ashley Knutson, 20, and her boyfriend Devontae “DJ” Garrison-Johnson, 22, were robbed and beaten Saturday night in the 100 block of North Wabash Avenue, police said. No one has been taken into custody in the attack, though 15 arrests were made throughout the night.

After video of the attack circulated online, the couple and a good Samaritan who helped them said police officers failed to intervene.

“It kind of made me feel like the keys to the city were being handed over to this mob,” Lenora Dennis told the Chicago Sun-Times days after helping the couple to safety. “I don’t want to demonize the kids, but, at the same time, there has to be a level of accountability for the things that they were doing.”

As Dennis watched Garrison-Johnson being assaulted by dozens of people, she said she saw four squad cars speed past and then tried to flag down another.

“They looked at me, looked at the situation, and then angled the car around me and drove off,” she said.

A police spokesperson said the department opened an internal investigation Tuesday into the accusations that officers didn’t stop to help. The probe was first reported by CWB Chicago, a crime blog that published the video of the attack.

Knutson, who lives in South Carolina and was visiting Garrison-Johnson, told reporters they were walking through the crowd when she was shoved and that her boyfriend came to her defense.

“He turned around and said, ‘Don’t put your hands on her. Don’t push her,’ ” she told WMAQ-Channel 5. “And as soon as he said that, everything went crazy.”

The now-viral video shows Knutson screaming as people in the group punch and kick Garrison-Johnson, who was left bloodied and bruised.

The couple — whose shoes, cellphones and credit cards were stolen — said they saw police officers bypass the melee.

“Cops drove right by it, acted like they didn’t see anything,” Garrison-Johnson told Fox News.

Downtown Aldermen Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward and Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward have criticized the police department’s response to the melees.

Reilly said an initial meetup that drew hundreds of young people to Millennium Park devolved into “chaos and criminal conduct.”

Dennis said she was leaving Macy’s on State Street when she heard Knutson’s screams and saw Garrison-Johnson being beaten on the ground. After unsuccessfully trying to get police to stop, she said she was briefly able to disperse the crowd before they returned to continue the attack.

That’s when she pushed the couple into the department store and had her husband pick them up in a ride-hailing vehicle, which took them to the police department’s Central District station at 1718 S. State St. The couple filed a police report, then were taken to the University of Illinois Hospital for treatment.

Dennis, an Englewood resident who works in real estate, likened her experience to “watching a train wreck.”

“It felt like they felt invincible, like we can do this unchecked,” she said of the group that attacked the couple. “And that can’t be the thing that happens in Chicago. That can’t happen anywhere. That’s anarchy.”

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