Woman Attacked On Lakefront Says Cops Mishandled Case
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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.