(CBS) — A woman with two small children in her car tried to pull into her driveway. That simple task ended with Chicago police officers pointing a gun to her head and charging her with attempted murder.
CBS 2’s Dave Savini has police video, the 9-1-1 calls and complaints against these officers.
In 2013, Rev. Catherine Brown found herself in a violent struggle with Chicago police, which was caught on squad car cameras. It began when Brown was driving down her alley heading to her driveway. Around a bend she says she saw a squad car speeding towards her without lights or sirens.
“It’s a blessing I did blow my horn,” says Brown, who thought the police car could have hit her.
She says Officer Michelle Morsi Murphy and Officer Jose Lopez were blocking her driveway.
Morsi Murphy jumped out of the squad car yelled with profanity, ordering her to move her civilian vehicle.
“It startled me,” Brown says. “I reached for my license … The other officer takes the gun and points it at the front of my head.”
Brown called 9-1-1 repeatedly. Those tapes reveal she felt threatened and in danger. She repeatedly asks for a lieutenant and police to come and help. Her daughters’ screams can be heard on the calls.
Georgia Brown, the oldest sibling, was eight at the time and says she was afraid of the officers. “They might shoot us and kill us,” she says.
Instead of waiting for a supervisor, Brown says the officers forced her door open. Terrified, she drove backwards out of the alley, hoping neighbors might help.
“Now she’s chasing me with the car. I come to a complete stop, and then she takes the car and rams it into me,” Brown says.
Her children were in the car at the time of the impact, she says.
On the video, Brown is seen screaming — she says for neighbors and witnesses.
Officer Morsi Murphy pepper sprays her and it hits her baby, too. Officer Lopez laughs. Then Morsi Murphy gets on top of a parked car and draws her gun and points it at Brown. Another officer strikes the car with a metal wand. Brown is taken down and dragged from the car.
She describes what happened next.
They “Beat me down to my underwear, pulled my skirt off me,” Brown says. “They beat me with the sticks and hit me with their boots in my head.”
“She was scared to death,” Brown’s attorney, Ed Fox, says.
He represents Brown against the officers, who have racked up many other complaints. The Citizens Police Data Project shows Morsi Murphy with 19 complaints and 21 for Lopez.
“When you have that many complaints, it should alert the police department something’s wrong,” Fox says.
Says Brown: “I got treated like an animal.”
Brown was charged with attempted murder because Morsi Murphy claimed Brown had dragged her. Brown was acquitted, but she was convicted of reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, for driving in reverse. She is appealing the conviction.
A Chicago Police spokesperson declined to discuss the case, citing the pending litigation.
“Reaffirming our commitment to accountability and integrity is paramount in our efforts to rebuild trust between police officers and communities,” the spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “Since there is pending litigation in this case, CPD is not able to comment on specifics. However, we take allegations of excessive force and discourtesy very seriously. These matters are thoroughly investigated by the Independent Review Authority and individuals are held accountable when wrongdoing is discovered.”