A 12-year-old boy, Amir Worship, may find it difficult to walk or run for the rest of his life after he was shot recently in a police raid that went horribly wrong at his home in Illinois, a lawsuit says.
This comes in the wake of reports of violent raids on residents in the Chicago-area by the SWAT division of the police force often based on sloppy or incorrect information.
Per reports, SWAT officers from the Richton Park and Country Club Hills police departments burst into the boy’s family home on May 26 with flashbangs and assault rifles, holding all of them at gunpoint, including Amir and his 13-year-old brother.
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The pre-dawn raid was with a narcotics search warrant issued for Mitchell Thurman, the boyfriend of Crystal Worship, Amir’s mother. Thurman was subsequently arrested for illegal gun and drug possession.
In a complaint filed for alleged negligence, battery, willful and wanton conduct among other charges, Crystal Worship details the ordeal her family went through at the hands of the SWAT officers.
The suit filed by the Chicago family said the police were dressed in “army fatigues with black cloth covering their faces and wearing goggles…. [they] battered open the two entry doors and set off between two and five flash-bang grenades” while searching for Crystal’s boyfriend around 5 a.m. as she and her three sons, aged 18, 13, and 12, were sleeping.
The suit relates how “the children were terrified they were about to be killed,” seeing how policemen entered their rooms shouting commands at them, all the while holding assault rifles.
Amir, still half-dressed and in bed was pulled “up and off of his bed” and was told “to sit on his brother’s bed … and to put a shirt on,” by an officer who allegedly continued to brandish his firearm at the child.
Another officer described as Caucasian joined them in the room and instructed Amir to “put his shoes on,” asked him which shoes were his, examined them with a flashlight, and as he handed the shoes back to Amir, the officer “quickly moved his right hand back to the handle and trigger of his rifle, grabbing it and firing it.”
The family’s attorney in the proceedings, Albert Holfeld, made it clear that Amir didn’t pose a threat as there was no one else in the room after the police cleared the space.
“The [officer] should’ve put [his gun] in the safety position so that it wouldn’t have discharged,” he said. After Amir was shot, the officer allegedly “covered his badge with black tape and covered his body camera.”
Per the complaint, after hearing the painful cries of her son when he was shot, Crystal rushed to the aid of her son but was however restrained by officers who grabbed her by the neck.
She was then told that they had “shot someone walking past outside” and not her son after she kept pressing for answers. Amir was heard being transported to the hospital after the shooting by one of his brothers who was detained by an officer in another room in the home.
Amir was shot in the knee while he sat in bed, with the bullet partially exiting from the other side of his leg. His injuries required surgery and left him hospitalized for days.
“According to an orthopaedic doctor, Amir will not be able to play any sports again, will have difficulty in physical education, will walk with a limp, and will have difficulty walking and running for the rest of his life,” as the family now seeks $50,000 in damages.
This is not the only incident of its kind in the Chicago area in recent times as reports of police handcuffing an 8-year-old and officers breaking up a 14-year-old’s birthday celebrations waving firearms and flash grenades based on wrong information have been reported.
Inspector General of police Joe Ferguson has consequently announced an investigation by his office into how the Chicago police vet information and execute search warrants.
The implicated police departments have declined to comment on the litigation. The Washington Post reports that the Illinois State Police has an open investigation into the raid on the Worship family.