Fearing backlash and public police scrutiny, a female Chicago police officer refused to unholster her gun and fire at a dangerous suspect who would go on to beat her violently in the street.
“She didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news,” Superintendent of Police, Eddie Johnson told the Chicago Tribune.
A call came in around 10 am last Wednesday morning regarding a man crashing his vehicle into a business. When officers arrived on scene, the man, Parta Huff, 28 was wandering around. They approached him to see if he was okay but he attacked them after the female officer began handcuffing him. It was later determined that he was high on PCP.
Johnson said that during the attack, the man took the 17 year veteran female police officer’s head and smashed it into the pavement until she went unconscious. Johnson said that she chose to keep her weapon holstered for fear of the scrutiny she and her family might face if she shot the man.
“As I was at the hospital last night, visiting with her, she looked at me and said she thought she was gonna die, and she knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news,” Johnson said while attending a public ceremony the day after the incident.
“This officer could (have) lost her life last night,” he added. “She’s hospitalized right now, but she still has the spirit and the bravery that these officers and firefighters display every day — every day. We have to change the narrative of the law enforcement across this country.”
The officers partner tased and pepper sprayed the suspect to get him off of her, but he continued to attack “for several minutes” according to Johnson. In all, Huff was tasered three times.
It took three officers to subdue the suspect, but none of them fired their weapons. In all, three officers were injured and taken to Lutheran General, with the man that was arrested taken to Loretto hospital.
“If you participate in a deadly force situation you can save your life,” Dean Angelo, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said, “but in 2016, you can lose your job.”
According to Johnson, the incident is a result of officers second-guessing themselves.
“It’s an example of how dangerous this job is,” Johnson said. “And because of the scrutiny going on nationwide, there (are) officers second-guessing themselves. That’s what we don’t want.”
The suspect, who has multiple prior arrests, now faces multiple charges for the attack, including attempted murder and aggravated battery.
The female officer suffered a concussion and multiple lacerations and bruises to her face and head as well as a bone chip to the wrist and shoulder as well as a neck injury.
Her partner also suffered a concussion, cuts, bruises, a torn quad and a broken thumb.