CHICAGO — It was one of the hottest stories of the summer. Prosecutors charged a Chicago woman and her young son with murdering a man at a fast food restaurant, only to drop the entire case within days after a viral video emerged showing that the man physically attacked the mother before her son shot him to death.
On June 27, one day after prosecutors dropped the charges, throngs of reporters attended a press conference where the woman, Carlishia Hood, and her attorney announced a lawsuit against the city and the police officers who investigated the case.
Hood wiped tears from her eyes at the press conference, making her first public comment about the nightmare her life had become.
“I’ve experienced pain in many ways, many ways that I would never have thought,” she explained. “Never in a million years would I have imagined being brutally attacked, beaten, and then arrested.”
But, CWBChicago learned that just nine days after that press conference, Brown quietly filed a motion to dismiss the entire civil case. He did not respond to an emailed inquiry about the filing. The motion is expected to be reviewed at the case’s first scheduled court hearing on August 31. (UPDATE: Judge Patrick Heneghan granted the motion to dismiss.)
An attack and a shooting
Late on June 18, Hood and her 14-year-old son stopped to pick up food at Maxwell Street Express, 11656 South Halsted. Prosecutors initially said the boy remained in the car, and Hood, a concealed carry holder, left her firearm in the glove compartment.
While Hood stood at the order counter, 32-year-old Jeremy Brown arrived at the restaurant. They had never met before, and, for some reason, the situation went sideways.
Upon charging Hood and her son, prosecutors said she texted her son outside and pointed at Brown. The boy entered the store with his hands in his hoodie pocket, and Brown began punching Hood.
During the assault, the boy pulled Hood’s firearm from his hoodie and shot Brown.
Brown ran from the restaurant. The state claimed that Hood’s son followed Brown, and Hood ordered her son to shoot and kill Brown. The boy continued firing at Brown, who died of his injuries, a prosecutor said during Hood’s bail hearing on June 22.
The entire event was recorded on high-definition video with audio. Chicago police released snippets of the video days after the shooting as they tried to identify the suspects. Hood and her son, who have no criminal histories, surrendered to police.
Two days after prosecutors charged Hood and her son with murder, another video emerged on Twitter.
It showed a series of events that seemed to differ from what prosecutors presented in court. Jeremy Brown was highly animated in the footage, raising his arms and yelling at Hood.
“Lady! Get your food!” he barked as Hood appeared to ask him to go back to his car.
“Who? Get in the car?” he replied, balling up his right hand. “Get your food! If you say one more thing, I’m gonna knock you out.”
They continued to exchange words for a couple of seconds.
“I’m gonna knock you out,” Brown threatened as he landed a full-force punch on Hood, who was out of camera view.
“Say one more thing, I’m gonna knock you out,” he scowled again before punching Hood twice.
A gunshot rang out as he threw the third punch, and the video ended almost immediately.
Public outrage and a lawsuit
Reaction to the video was immediate and powerful. People saw a woman being violently attacked and believed her son fired a shot to protect her. The phone video went public on a Saturday. By midday Monday, prosecutors had dropped all charges against Hood and her son.
“Based upon our continued review and in light of emerging evidence, today the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) has moved to dismiss the charges against Carlishia Hood and her 14-year-old son,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a written statement. “Based upon the facts, evidence, and the law we are unable to meet our burden of proof in the prosecution of these cases.”
Hood and her attorney held their press conference and filed suit against the city and the cops the next day, alleging malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false arrest. The Cook County state’s attorney’s office, which approved the charges, was not named as a defendant.
The following day, Hood appeared on a Facebook Live stream hosted by community activist Jedidiah Brown. The video has been taken down, but we reported on it in June.
Hood revealed many details about her experiences since that fateful stop at Maxwell Street Express. One of the most surprising: Although prosecutors said her son stayed in the car while she went into the restaurant, Hood said she told him to return to the car so he would not be exposed to the brewing argument.
Near the end of the 36-minute-long stream, Jedidiah Brown spoke with someone off-screen, but the unseen person could not be heard clearly. He asked the person if they wanted to say it on camera, then personally provided a stunning claim: Hood never texted her son to ask him to do anything.
That directly contradicted a prosecutor’s allegation during Hood’s bond hearing that “during the course of the verbal altercation [Hood] began texting her son and pointing at him outside.”
“She never told him, she never texted him, she never called him. She never asked him to do anything,” Jedidiah Brown said. “She protected her son. She told him to go to the car…”
At that point, Hood walked into camera view.
“For a fact, a big fact, and anybody who truly knows me, ok, my kids are my everything. I wouldn’t dare have my son, I already knew something was off, but, like I said, for the most part, I would never put my kids in a situation like that, neither one of them,” she said.
“I didn’t even want my son to witness it. That’s why I said to go to the car because he overheard the argument,” Hood told viewers.
Jedidiah Brown appeared ready to say even more but abruptly ended the stream after a woman was heard crying off-camera.
Motion to dismiss
Hood’s attorney, Brandon Brown, filed a motion to dismiss the next week, according to court records. The brief motion offers no reason for the request other than to say it is the plaintiff’s desire. Hood is asking the judge to dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning she could refile the lawsuit within one year.