US police officer faces criminal charges after repeatedly punching Palestinian boy
Officer Patrick O’Donnell was indicted Tuesday by a Cook County grand jury on counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct connected with the July arrest of Hadi Abuatelah.
The incident took place around six months ago, and since then activists have been demanding justice for the teenager.
Over the summer, Abuatelah, who was 17 years old, was a passenger during a standard police traffic stop near Chicago when the alleged assault took place.
Dashcam footage from the Oak Lawn Police Department appeared to confirm witness accounts allegedly showing officers beating the minor after he had been subdued and was no longer moving.
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 shortly thereafter from hospital and transferred to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center for a hearing.
The incident sparked outrage in the area's Arab community, sparking accusations of racism and calls for justice.