A family in Chicago has filed a lawsuit claiming a SWAT officer shot a 12-year-old boy in the knee during a police raid in Chicago while he was sitting in his bed.
The civil lawsuit, which was obtained by NBC News and filed on August 8 in Cook County Circuit Court, states that Amir Worship, 12, was shot in the knee by an officer in his family’s home while two dozen SWAT officers conducted a search for his mother’s boyfriend, Mitchell Thurman, on May 26. The suit states that officers involved in the raid were officers from the Country Club Hills Police Department and the Richton Park Police Department.
In the complaint obtained by the news station, Amir’s mother, Crystal Worship, claims that an officer went into Amir’s bedroom and ordered him to put his shoes on while the officer kept his automatic rifle pointed at Amir. Worship stated she then heard her son scream after the officer shot his gun into the kneecap of his right leg.
“Mom, they shot me,” Amir reportedly screamed, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges the gun was not in the “safety lock position,” NBC News reported. Amir’s older brothers, Eric and Robert, awoke to the sound of flash-bang grenades during the raid while they were sleeping in another room. Eric, 13, was reportedly placed in handcuffs for an hour and taken to the police station for questioning, where he was held for six hours.
Amir was taken to the hospital where surgery was performed on his kneecap, and he received 25 stitches. The family stated the 12-year-old boy was hospitalized for four days and then moved to Texas, where he will undergo physical therapy. Worship said in the complaint she was taken to the police station following the raid, which kept her away from her injured son in the hospital.
In a press conference, Al Hofeld, the family’s attorney, said the room had been secured and cleared before the SWAT officer fired his gun at Amir.
“You have a police officer pointing his assault rifle at a 12-year-old child minutes after the area has been secured and there is no reason to do so,” Hofeld told reporters, according to WMAQ-TV.
The charges against Thurman were later dismissed and no one in the Worship family was charged in the incident, Hofeld told NBC News. The family is suing for $50,000 in damages, alleging negligence, willful and wanton conduct, assault, battery, false arrest, and emotional distress.
“Our lives changed behind this,” Worship told reporters, according to WMAQ-TV. “It will never be the same.”
In May, a mother filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department after her eight-year-old son was forced to wait handcuffed in the rain for about 40 minutes while officers searched her home.
In the lawsuit previously viewed by The North Star, Alberta Wilson states she and her family were woken up on March 15 at around 6:00 a.m. by 20 SWAT officers. Wilson and her sons — six-year-old Royalty, eight-year-old Royal and 9-year-old Roy — were ordered by officers to “come out with your hands up for your own safety.” Wilson and her sons, along with Wilson’s two adult sons, their girlfriends and two-year-old granddaughter who were also in the home, complied and left the home with their hands in the air.
The suit stated that Wilson asked the officers to lower their guns because there were children present, but the “officers’ guns were loaded, and their fingers were on the triggers. The children were afraid that they and their families were going to be shot,” the lawsuit viewed by The North Star read.
Police handcuffed Royal, Wilson, and Wilson’s two older sons in front of the other children. The eight-year-old was handcuffed “for approximately 35-40 minutes while he stood in the street shaking from fear and cold and drenched in the freezing rain,” the lawsuit read. The suit alleges that the eight-year-old began to cry because he “couldn’t take the pain and discomfort anymore.” Despite Wilson asking officers to take the handcuffs off of her son, they remained on his wrists for 40 minutes and reportedly left a bruise.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.