A Markham mother is suing two south suburban police departments, claiming a SWAT team officer shot her 12-year-old son in the kneecap during a raid at her home earlier this year.
“This case represents a textbook example of why officers should not aim their guns at children,” said Al Hofeld Jr., the mother’s attorney, during a news conference at his downtown offices Thursday.
The case, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, is the seventh this year in which Hofeld has claimed children have been traumatized by police officers’ excessive force.
The most recent case occurred in the early-morning hours of May 26 at the home of Crystal Worship. Officers from the Country Club Hills and Richton Park police departments burst into Worship’s home, looking for her boyfriend, Hofeld said. The boyfriend was arrested for illegal drug possession, although the charges were later dropped, Hofeld said.
During the raid, officers handcuffed Worship’s 13-year-old son and one officer pointed an automatic rifle at her 12-year-old son, Amir, according to the suit. Amir was sitting on his bed with his hands in the air when he was shot, the suit states.
“Assuming this was not an intentional act, there is still no possible professional reason or excuse for what this officer did,” Hofeld said.
Hofeld said he’s still trying to learn more about the makeup of the SWAT team and couldn’t say for sure on Thursday why officers from Richton Park and Country Club Hills were involved in a Markham raid.
“The family was told that the Country Club Hills police notified the Markham police in advance that they were going to execute the search warrant at the Markham address,” Hofeld said in a follow-up email to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bill Brown, Country Club Hills director of public safety, said he couldn’t comment until an investigation by the Illinois State Police is complete. The Richton Park Police Department didn’t return a call seeking comment, and representatives from the Markham Police Department couldn’t be reached.
Amir, who liked to play football and basketball, has been told he will never play sports again.
“Someone should be held responsible,” said Crystal Worship, who stood with Hofeld Thursday in his office. “I feel so sad and hurt that this happened to him.”