Reporting Suzanne Le Mignot
(CBS) – A Chicago civil rights organization is investigating claims that a mother was unjustly beaten by police officers in Davenport Iowa after she was caught shoplifting. The incident was captured on camera.
CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot has the story.
Brandie Redell admits she was shoplifting at a Von Maur store in Davenport, Iowa, back in February, and putting clothes inside her 1-year-old daughter’s stroller.
“I’ve been punished by the law and I’m dealing with that part, but I still don’t understand how that resulted in me getting my face beat like that and crying for help and nobody helping,” said Redell.
While store security has Redell turn over the things she’s taken, two Davenport police officers walk in. Redell calls her boyfriend telling him to pick up their daughter. When one of the officer’s hears Redell’s boyfriend’s name, he tells Redell, “This is going to get ugly, real quick.”
Redell’s boyfriend, James Gibson, is a community activist who had done some sensitivity training with the department when it comes to race and officers dealing with the public.
Redell recoiled in fear as one of the officers starts beating her. A store worker left the room quickly carrying Redell’s one-year-old daughter. The beating lasted for one minute and five seconds.
“I did bite him to try to get him off of me,” said Redell.
Minutes later, an officer puts ice on her face. Redell’s right eye is so severely swollen, it’s closed shut and she says she has lost 70 percent of her vision in her right eye.
Asked if she thought the race of her boyfriend has something to do with the incident, Redell said, “Yes I do, because I don’t think the police were really thrilled that a white woman was calling a black man for help, especially one that they already weren’t fond of.”
“I think it’s really a travesty for the department because you do have good officers in the Davenport Police Department. That was no way right and it shouldn’t be tolerated,” said Gibson.
Davenport’s Police Chief Frank Donchez agrees.
“Our policy says you are to conduct yourself in a professional manner.” Was he within policy? No. Do we need to conduct an internal investigation? Yes,” said Donchez.
Donchez added that, “the internal affairs investigation revealed no such racial bias.”
Redell contacted the Oak Forest based civil rights organization Living and Driving While Black Foundation, for help. In a statement, the organization’s founder David L Lowery Jr. says: “We did an investigation and found this was a vicious assault and a blatant violation of Ms. Redell’s civil rights. We have referred her case to our general counsel, former Cook County Cmsr. Tony Peraica. Our organization has seen a history of civil rights violations from the Davenport Police Department.”
“I don’t want to see anybody else in my shoes. So, if this helps prevent this, that’s great,” said Redell.
Redell says she now has panic attacks when she sees police cars or even a police officer. She has had to undergo therapy to help her get through what she experienced. Following an internal affairs investigation, both officers were disciplined and both are still employed and back on the street, as Davenport, Iowa police officers.