CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department is launching an internal investigation after a couple that was attacked and robbed by a mob of people during last weekend’s “large group” incident in the Loop told media outlets that Chicago police officers drove right past them as the attack was in progress. A woman who witnessed the crime said a CPD unit literally drove around her as she tried to get them to help the victims.
CWBChicago first published video of the attack on Monday. It quickly went viral, with over 15 million views on Twitter alone as of this morning.
Yesterday, the victims and the witness stepped forward to tell their stories.
Ashley Knutson, 20, and her boyfriend, Devontae “DJ” Johnson, 22, said they were looking for a place to eat after shopping in the Loop when they encountered a group of people on the sidewalk in the 100 block of North Wabash. Johnson lives in Chicagoland and Knutson was visiting from South Carolina.
“We were trying to walk through the crowd, and I was holding his hand and he was walking in front me,” Knutson told NBC5 yesterday. “First they shoved him, and then they ended up shoving me too.”
“I said ‘DJ! I just got pushed,’ and he turned around and said ‘don’t put your hands on her,'” Knutson said. “And as soon as he said that, everything went crazy.”
“They were kicking and punching me and I just had to get to defense. Can’t do much when there’s like 20 people on you,” DJ told ABC7.
By the time it was over, the couple had been robbed of their phones, shoes, and wallets.
While the couple was being attacked, Lenora Dennis stepped out of Macy’s across the street and couldn’t believe her eyes.
“In the 45 years, I’ve lived in this city and ALL of the things I’ve seen AND experienced living on every side of this city. Last night was one of the most DISGUSTING, DEPRESSING, RIDICULOUS displays I have ever witnessed,” Dennis wrote on Instagram Sunday night. “I watched a mob of hooligan’s attack and viciously BEAT an interracial couple on Wabash, I watched several, at least 5, police cars drive by while this attack was in progress. I watched teenage children jump on the hoods of people’s cars, smashing windshields and causing several thousands of dollars of property damage.”
“The desk sergeant at the 1st District told me to MY face that this is happening because @Brandon4Chicago was elected and he IS the wrong person to get a handle on this situation. I felt like I was watching the city devolve into complete and utter chaos like the Joker was finna pop on the scene,” she continued.
Dennis accompanied her post with a video of the attack she recorded from across the street.
“I literally went in front of a police car that I saw coming, like literally stood in front of their car, and I was like ‘stop! There’s people over here getting assaulted,’ and he looked, there were four police officers in the car. The driver looked, and he just cut a path and drove around me,” Dennis told NBC5 yesterday.
The couple confirmed Dennis’ story about police officers not stopping to help.
“[The police] almost had to avoid the collision to get past us, but they just drove by the incident in the middle of the street,” Ashley said on Fox News.
“Cops drove right by it. Acted like they didn’t see anything,” DJ added.
“They were going to kill that young man,” Dennis recalled in an interview with WGN. “They were stomping his head into the concrete.”
On Wednesday, a Chicago Police Department spokesperson said an internal investigation into the allegations is underway.
Dennis drove the couple to the Central (1st) District Police station to file a report, then to the University of Illinois Hospital for treatment. And she gave them money so they could get shoes and have emergency cash.
DJ’s eye was still blackened and bloodshot as he gave the on-camera interviews. He said he has back and shoulder injuries.
In her Instagram post on Sunday, Dennis called for action: “PARENTS, UNCLES, AUNTS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, COUSINS…Is this 👆🏾your relative(s)? Is this your ward out here…randomly assailing people in the streets? Was your child downtown yesterday? I’m all for getting to the ROOT cause of the problem but right now, we are going to have to do something swift and immediate…possibly civil right infringing to get this 👆🏾under control.”
Chicago police said fifteen people were arrested during Saturday’s hours-long incident in the Loop. No one has been charged with attacking the couple.