Family of girl injured by Chicago police SUV during protests files lawsuit against city

(Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)

A lawsuit was filed against the City of Chicago on behalf of a 15-year-old girl who was injured after a Chicago police SUV rolled over her body during the George Floyd protests in Roseland last month.

The suit, filed by Astarte Washington’s family in Cook County Circuit Court, accuses the city of willful and wanton conduct and exhibiting “a conscious disregard for the safety of others.”

Astarte and her brother were walking from their grandmother’s home in the 9700 block of South Yale Avenue to their home in West Pullman on May 31, according to the suit. They tried to take a bus, but CTA service had been disrupted because of the protests following Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

Astarte and her brother ran into a large group of protesters and looters, forcing them off the sidewalk and into the crowd in the middle of the street at the intersection of 111th Street and South Michigan Avenue, the suit states. Police were trying to control the masses at the intersection, and Astarte heard several officers order the group to stop and get on the ground.

Several people dispersed as officers gave the order, but Astarte listened to the officers and went to the ground, the suit states. As she was lying down, an officer allegedly jumped out of a marked a 2017 Chicago police SUV without putting it in park.

The SUV reversed over Astarte’s body twice, with the rear and front tires, “causing traumatic and severe permanent injuries,” the suit states.

Astarte was an eighth grader at DuBois Elementary School at the time she was injured, the suit states. She was the acting student council president and captain of the basketball team.

Chicago police, in a statement, said officers were responding to reports of looting in the area.

“Upon arrival, an officer exited his vehicle to assist another officer in need of help,” the statement read.

“He then observed his vehicle rolling backward, injuring one officer and one juvenile civilian who were in the street. The incident was documented in a traffic crash report. An investigation has been opened into this incident.”

City officials didn’t respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.