Before paramedics arrived to treat 32-year-old Martina Standley on November 14, 2019 in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, she lay bleeding unconscious and, for over 8 minutes, with her leg crushed and trapped under a Chicago police’s SUV tire after being run over. Police body camera footage of the incident was released on Tuesday by activist William Calloway.
The footage of Standley’s terrifying ordeal exposes yet another drop in the bucket of the bloody record of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), overseen by the Democratic Party for nearly a hundred years, whose recent history includes the murder of Laquan McDonald and the operation of a black site where arrestees were “disappeared.”
Asked if she had seen the body cam footage of the CPD running over Standley, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot replied in the negative. However, there is no reason to take her at her word. After the release last month of video footage of a police raid on the home of social worker Anjanette Young, Lightfoot boldly lied to the media stating she was not aware of the video, a statement on which she later backtracked. The incident has triggered a crisis within Chicago’s Democratic Party machine.
Body camera footage of the Standley incident was released over a year after Calloway filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the footage’s release on November 19, 2019.
Last August, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) refused to comply with a Cook County judge’s order to release the footage. Only after Calloway returned to court a second time did the CPD finally release the footage.
“My [FOIA request] didn’t get satisfied until a year after,” Calloway told Block Club Chicago. “A court had to order the Chicago Police Department and the city to release this. This is not something that the city wanted or willfully did. This was forced.”
Video footage shows the following. Near midnight on November 14, 2019, Standley approaches a CPD SUV and places her hands on the hood from the passenger side. At that moment, the officer driving the vehicle accelerates, ramming Standley and crushing her leg. The over five-ton SUV is now on her leg.
The officer driving the SUV, who has yet to be publicly identified, gets out of the vehicle, approaches Standley and says, “Girl, ain’t nobody hit you like that.” As he realizes she’s bleeding and pinned, he says, “Oh, s—. F—.”
Half a minute later, the officer requests an ambulance stating there had been “an accident, we hit a pedestrian that was banging on the car.”
As Standley remained unconscious and pinned to the ground with the SUV on top of her, the officer discussed with others at the scene what to do, that is, whether to remove the car from her leg.
The officer is heard repeatedly telling Standley to “stay up,” as her head bleeds. He kept repeating it was an accident, to which one witness said, “He hit her. Her whole leg’s gone.”
Four minutes into the video, with the SUV still on top of her, Standley moves. Some moments later the driving officer discusses moving the car and is told “reverse slowly,” but stops short. He hesitates and says, “Wait.”
Nine minutes and a half into the video, the driving officer tells another cop regarding Standley, “She came banging on the window. It was not like no one was running from nobody or nothing like that,” Less than a minute later, an ambulance finally arrived to administer aid. According to Andrew M. Stroth, an attorney for Standley’s family, Standley suffered major head and leg injuries and is still recovering some 14 months after the incident. Standley has filed a lawsuit against the CPD and the driving officer who hit her. The case, which is still pending, states the driving officer “weaponized his patrol car” against Standley. The lawsuit is seeking a minimum of $50,000 from the City of Chicago and the officer.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the city’s toothless police oversight agency, found the incident was not a “police action” because officers were not pursuing a suspect or called to a crime scene, said COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy. This amounted to a loophole, because the incident did not involve “use of force,” when an officer kills someone or causes violence hurts someone, it is therefore not pursuant to city policy, which would have required the city to release the bodycam footage within 60 days. “In this [incident], she approached them when they were sitting in the car,” Eaddy said. The Standley footage is the second major Chicago police incident to surface in nearly 30 days, adding to the growing crisis over the Young raid.
For months, Lightfoot’s administration worked to cover up the raid and suppress the Young video. The revelation that Lightfoot lied undermines the facade that the Democratic Party in Chicago is seeking, in any way, to rein in Chicago’s long history of police brutality. There is concern that the Standley video could expose Lightfoot's involvement again in suppressing the release of yet another video documenting police violence, undermining the tattered credibility of Chicago’s Democratic Party among the city’s youth and workers as the city moves forward with its deadly schools reopening plans next week.
The relationship between the city’s Democratic party to the CPD is one in which the former ensures that the latter is able to operate freely, in all its brutality. Not as antagonistic forces, or even checks and balances, but as mutual dependents. The cops carry out the enforcement of the Democrat’s demands. Therefore, the extent to which the CPD and COPA attempted to stall the release of the Standley video raises numerous questions about the involvement of the Lightfoot administration.