A Black woman, who said Chicago police officers left her blind in the right eye after dragging her out of a car during a 2020 confrontation, will likely receive a share of a $1.6 million settlement.
According to Chicago Sun-Times, the amount that was agreed on by the City Council’s Finance Committee on Thursday was part of three other settlements in connection with police wrongdoing allegations. That was also the largest approved settlement of the day.
The May 2020 incident occurred during the protests that ensued after George Floyd’s killing. Mia Wright was in a vehicle with four other people when Chicago police officers confronted them and ordered them out of their car. At the time of the incident, the protests had escalated to violence and looting.
Wright claims the officers’ alleged use of excessive force during the confrontation left her blind in the right eye. She said the injury could likely prevent her from pursuing the paramedic career she dreams of.
Per the federal lawsuit which named the city and Chicago police as defendants, the accused officers used batons to shatter the windows of the car and also ordered Wright and the other occupants to come out of the vehicle. Wright was seated at the front passenger side at the time.
The incident occurred at the parking lot of the Brickyard shopping center. Officers had gone to that location because multiple businesses had been ransacked and looted. Following the incident, police initially alleged Wright “was observed by responding officers assembled with 3 or more persons for the purpose of using force or violence to disturb the peace.” But Wright said that allegation “makes no sense.”
The plaintiff and three other family members said they had intended to go to a Target store only to realize the facility was closed. They then tried leaving the parking lot, Chicago Sun-Times reported.
After they were confronted, Wright said she was compliant with the officers’ orders. But she alleged one of the officers forcefully pulled her out of the car after grabbing her hair. She said she was then pinned to the ground, adding that the officer also placed a knee on her back and neck.
“All I thought about was what happened to George Floyd and it could have been another situation like that,” Wright said about the confrontation.
Wright was slapped with a misdemeanor charge, and she ended up having to spend the night in jail while the other women she was arrested with, did not. The charge against Wright was later withdrawn. The lawsuit also claims that a sergeant at the station called Wright a “savage b—-” during processing.
The 2020 confrontation, which was condemned by people including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, was captured by bystanders. Two police officers involved in the incident were later relieved of their police powers until Civilian Office of Police Accountability concluded its investigation.
The $1.6 million settlement approved on Thursday goes to Wright and four others who were with her that day, according to Chicago Sun-Times.