The family of Alberta Wilson has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Chicago police officers who she says left her home damaged and children traumatized, especially her 8-year-old son Royal Wilson who was placed in handcuffs by police officers for 7th District.
One second, Royal was sound asleep.
The next, he and his family were being marched out of bed to the sound of a bullhorns, flashlights bombarding through their windows and ushered outside by a group of SWAT officers wielding assault rifles.
A team of 20 SWAT officers, six plainclothes offices and five officers in uniform burst in on the family after surrounding the house at 6 a.m. on March 15, according to the New York Daily News.
Chicago police say they were there to carry out a search warrant of the premises after receiving a tip about an assault rifle somewhere at the location.
“Due to the risk involved with a weapon that could penetrate body armor, the occupants of the residence followed verbal direction given over a public address system and exited the residence without needing to breach the door,” Chicago police wrote to CBS 2 in a statement, which can be read below.
Royal was handcuffed in 37-degree weather for more than half an hour, according to the lawsuit.
“Once the family reached the street, police handcuffed them,” the lawsuit reads.
“Officers handcuffed short, 8-year-old Royal for no reason for approximately 35 to 40 minutes while he stood in the street shaking from fear and cold and drenched in the freezing rain. The handcuffs were too tight, and his wrist bruised.”
Police also trashed the family’s house, ripping a hole in the ceiling causing insulation fibers to fall and cover everything in the house.
“They had their guns pointed at me and my children,” Alberta Wilson, a mother of three kids aged 6,8 and 9, said.
“I was very, very scared.”
“Nervous,” she told CBS News in Chicago.
Royal’s handcuffs were finally removed after a sergeant arrived on the scene.
No one was arrested, even after several others at the scene remained in handcuffs as officers ransacked the house.
“Chicago police officers behave as if our children of color and their trauma is collateral damage in Chicago,” said Al Holfield, Jr., the attorney who filed the lawsuit.
Even though no arrests were made, police stated the target of the search warrant was at the scene.
Holfield Jr. replied, saying the soundest search warrant in the world is no excuse for handcuffing an 8-year-old and is calling for the department to adopt new policies when using force around children.