Witness Who Filmed Brickyard Mall Incident Says He's Traumatized

Bernie Tafoya
June 05, 2020 - 12:26 pm

Related: VIDEO: Officer Drags Woman Suspected Of Looting Out Of Car, Kneels On Her Neck Outside Brickyard Mall

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The man who video recorded the police attack on a car full of people at the Brickyard Mall on Sunday night said he’s still traumatized by what he saw.

James Smith said he was driving with his wife and was on Facebook Live capturing some of the looting that was going on at Brickyard Mall when he saw two officers walking in front of him begin racing ahead to a car with his friends in it.  He said the officers had their batons out.

"I happened to see two officers walking with their batons out. I saw them whisper to each other and then I saw them, after a 2-3 count…run. I said in the video, ‘where are they running to?'" Smith said.

On the video, you can tell Smith couldn't believe what he was seeing as he cried out, "Oh my God.  This is my people. Oh, my. C’mon. This is my people."

Smith said he and his wife had been waiting for those friends - Tnika Tate and Mia Wright - when they realized all the stores were closed. He said he saw police break a car window and yank Wright out by her hair.  A number of other police officers also converged on the car and the four people in it.

"Those first initial two officers were in the wrong. They provoked it all.  They started all of this. All of this would not have happened had they had a better training," he said.

James Smith said he’s hardly slept since the incident happened.

"It’s hard out here already as a black man and seeing that happen to black women that I know in front of my eyes, is hard," he said.

One of the passengers in the car, Mia Wright, was charged with disorderly conduct. She alleges that, not only did police pull her out of the car by her hair, but that an officer kept her on the ground for about two minutes with his knee to her neck. She also said she suffered an eye injury from the shattered car glass.

Wright, Tnika Tate, her cousin, and others said they want criminal charges filed against the officers involved. They also want the charges dropped against Wright.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and the FBI are among the entities investigating the incident.