Alleged US police beating of Palestinian teenager deepens fears for Chicago's Arabs

Alleged US police beating of Palestinian teenager deepens fears for Chicago's Arabs
The public are demanding answers following the police beating of a Palestinian teen near Chicago during a traffic stop.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
02 August, 2022
Police in the Chicago area are being accused of excessive force after injuring a minor following a traffic stop [Getty]

A lawsuit has been filed against three US police officers from the Oak Lawn Police Department, Police Chief Daniel Vittorio, and the Village of Oak Lawn after the alleged use of excessive force during the arrest of 17-year-old Palestinian on Wednesday.

Live Story

Dashcam footage from the Oak Lawn Police Department appears to confirm witness accounts and video footage of the incident allegedly shows the officers beating the minor after he'd been subdued and was no longer moving.  

On Wednesday, Abuatelah, who was in a car as a passenger, along with the driver were stopped by police for what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, when one of the officers claimed he smelled marijuana in the car.

Abuatelah began to flee. He was then pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Officers later claimed they feared he was reaching for a gun, but other accounts claim that a gun was found only after he was pinned to the ground. 

After the incident, Abuatelah was shown to suffer internal bleeding in his brain, a fractured pelvis, a broken nose and multiple bruises and lacerations. He was released from hospital on Monday and transferred to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center for a hearing.   

Saadia Pervaiz, communications coordinator for CAIR-Chicago, told The New Arab that Abuatelah has until now had a clean record and had been training to be a barber like his father.

She also noted that following the incident many Arabs in the area have posted on social media that they don't feel safe with their local law enforcement.