Woman Attacked On Lakefront Says Cops Mishandled Case

CHICAGO (CBS) — Akilah Easter was attacked on the lakefront this summer and managed to get away, but she said her nightmare didn’t end there.

Easter said that, when Chicago police officers arrived to investigate, she felt victimized again.

“In my situation, the police were very insensitive,” Easter said. “As soon as they arrived to the scene, the initial officer stated that his shift was about to change, he wanted to wait for the next officer to come in, because he does not get paid overtime.”

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports that police are now taking a closer look at Easter’s case.

For the first time, Easter was speaking out about the attack without her identity concealed. In June, Easter spoke to CBS 2 after being attacked along Chicago’s lakefront near 35th Street, while out for a jog.

She said she was running along the Lakefront Bike Path at 35th Street when she stopped near the basketball court to catch her breath.

“I thought this was just a young man playing basketball,” Easter said in June, days after the attack. “I mean, I let my guard down by turning my back to the basketball court. He literally attacked me in like five seconds.”

She explained how a man put her in a choke hold and dragged her to a grassy area. When she came to, Easter, an athlete, fought back by scratching and kicking her attacker repeatedly, then running down the center of Lake Shore Drive to get help.

When an officer arrived at 35th Street and the lakefront to investigate, Easter said he told her, “his shift was about to change. He wanted to wait for the next officer to come in because he does not get paid overtime.”

Easter detailed the encounter with that police officer in a complaint she filed with the Chicago Police Department. She said she believes police dragged their feet by not collecting evidence right away and sending her home shortly after talking to her.

“I don’t think that any type of protocol was handled at the scene of the occurrence,” Easter said. “I keep going back to them not taking any pictures, any evidence, anything at all – just pretty much dismissed me, escorting me to my car within a 10 to 15 minute frame and then just sending me off, not escorting me home.”

The complaint also shows Easter’s incident was originally classified as an attempted strong arm robbery, but changed four days later to a kidnapping and unlawful restraint case, after she twice spoke to a detective.

“It’s obvious that you weren’t taking time to investigate the whole situation when it initially happened, so you had to change the report,” Easter said. “My community alert took four to five days to be released.”

Easter, a college biology professor, said she also told police numerous times that she scratched the suspect, but no DNA evidence was ever taken.

“I’m a scientist. I know I got some of his skin cells under my nails,” she said. “So I know that that information was not taken. No pictures were taken. Nothing was taken.”

Easter said police should have checked under her fingernails to collect DNA evidence and determine if there were any matches in a criminal database.

She described her attacker as an African-American man of about 20 years of age. He had a dark complexion and was wearing baby blue boxer shorts with blue jeans.

In a prepared statement, the Chicago Police Department said: “The current classification in the incident appears consistent with the facts as related to investigating detectives.”

The case was referred to the Independent Police Review Authority and is now with Internal Affairs for investigation.

More from Suzanne Le Mignot
  • Tradefin

    Conceal Carry for Illinois will stop the crime. Armed trained citizens. Look at crime rates where CCW is legal then look at Chicago. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.



  • JeanSC

    Anyone who watches “CSI” would know that the police should have collected evidence from the victim, including from under her fingernails, which might help ID the attacker. The on-air story mentioned “sensitivity training” for the police. Just make them watch all the “CSI” shows.

  • Tom

    What good would photo’s have done? They would have showed where a crime occurred. A pic of the ground and a basketball court. That sure will help solve the crime. As far as DNA collection goes, let’s do this. Let’s do a DNA inspection of everyone in the city that is involved in any physical contact crime. If I get punched out at a bar and the suspect is gone when the cops get there, let’s try to find some possible suspect DNA on me. I’ll wait around a few hours for CPD CSI to respond, photograph me, collect my clothes for evidence analysis, swab my body for analysis,draw blood from me, blah blah blah. The problem with this case is the victim has an apparent degree in biology, so she has all the answers.. The next problem is people like “Jean SC” (above) who watch CSI on the TV. As a result of watching a make believe TV show, Jean is clearly of the belief that in the span of an hour, a person can be killed, DNA collected, analyzed, tied to a suspect, the suspect is arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death,

  • Chicagoan

    CSI TV shows are not an accurate depiction of what police really do.

    Bigger question here is, if the officer was ending his shift and the CPD would not approve overtime, is that the reason for the initial mis-classification of this crime?

  • Raymond Prudente

    Sexual assault is a dreadful experience for many women who are directly affected by it. It is the benefit of the victim, people and the community that law enforcement work relentlessly to ensure crimes are investigated and criminals are brought to justice. Because CPD failed to further investigate and establish evidence/key facts arresting suspect cannot be made.

    Turning a blind eye incident and follow up complaint by victim would defeat the purpose of “TO SERVE AND PROTECT” Selective investigation is no investigation, selective justice is no justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • frank

    The police goofed!

    Admit it.


  • Just Axin

    Unfortunately, stuff like this happens all of the time. Most cops are decent, but enough of them are out there that are lazy and have attitudes.


    Wow I must say there is no way Annie is a women and I’m saying this from a male perspective because your comment is too cold and insensative and if you really are a women, which I doubt, hopefully next time it won’t be you, your mother, daughter, sister, or friend who is the victum next time. Let us see if you can tell them to just deal with it and move on.

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