Oak Lawn officer seen punching teen during arrest allowed to go on vacations while out on bond

A Cook County judge gave an Oak Lawn police officer permission to take two family vacations this summer, even though he is a defendant out on bond.

Patrick O’Donnell, 32, was the officer seen on video, punching 17-year-old Hadi Abuatelah more than 10 times in the head with a closed fist on July 27, 2022 — at times while holding the teenager by the head and by his hair — while another officer knelt on Abuatelah’s legs as they both shouted commands at him, according to Cook County prosecutors.

The arrest happened after the teen allegedly fled a traffic stop. Police recovered a loaded handgun in a bag Abuatelah was carrying.

O’Donnell was indicted by a grand jury in February on counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct.

Video of the beating, captured by a bystander, led to protests by members of the Arab American community, who alleged profiling and harassment by the suburb’s officers.

O’Donnell’s attorney James McKay claimed Abuatelah had been "trying to get that gun" and said his client and the other officers were lucky to have escaped the arrest with their lives. He called the charges against O’Donnell "outrageous."

Arab American Action Network lead organizer, Muhammad Sankari said O’Donnell was being treated better than most defendants, since he is being allowed to travel out of state on vacation and keep his weapons.

"The judge just allowed him to take two separate vacations. This man is charged with a violent felony. How many people charged with violent felonies in this city and this county are allowed to keep their weapons and are allowed to take two family vacations with no problem at all? Very few I would assume."

O’Donnell did not have to appear in court in person. He joined on Zoom. He is still employed by the Oak Lawn Police Department while placed on administrative leave.