CHICAGO (CBS) — A Dolton gas station attendant has been charged with aggravated battery, after he was caught on video beating a woman who said she only wanted to use the restroom.
Richard Williams, an employee of the Shell gas station on Sibley Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue, has been charged with aggravated battery-strangulation, aggravated battery in a public place of accommodation, and unlawful restraint, Dolton village officials said.READ MORE: Katrina Pierce Charged With Using Names Of Homicide Victims To Collect Tax Refunds And Stimulus Checks, And She Has Gone To Prison Before For Similar Schemes
Williams was due to appear in bond court on Friday, but court information was not immediately available Friday afternoon.
Video obtained exclusively by CBS 2 sparked protests outside the gas station, forcing it to close early on Wednesday.
Protesters demanded the gas station be shut down for good, and said the owners owe the community an apology after finding out others had complained about Williams in the past.
Williams turned himself in to Dolton police late Tuesday afternoon – two days after the assault on Nakeyah Smith, who was left bruised.
Be warned that the video of the attack is graphic.
“Seeing the video for myself, every time I close my eyes to go to sleep, that’s just all I see,” Smith said.
Smith said she tried to use the gas station’s restroom and was originally denied by the man behind the counter. But there was a woman working too.
Terry: “And you asked that woman what?”
Smith: “‘Can I use the bathroom?’”
Terry: “And she allowed you to go?”
Smith: “She let me to go to the bathroom.”
Terry: “And as you’re walking towards the bathroom…”
Smith: “I hear him come from behind the counter and go to lock the door.”
Fearful of what the man would do, Smith said she accidentally urinated herself in the aisle. She said she has a medical condition involving her bladder.READ MORE: Man Shot, Critically Wounded In Grant Park Near Roosevelt Road
“It’s a medical condition,” she said. “I can’t control it all the time.”
Smith said when she tried to leave the store, the employee would not let her.
“The video you got – that was the end of the situation,” she said. “That was not the beginning.”
She said the man refused to unlock the door.
“So I started to unlock the door. He pushed me. I push him back,” Smith said. “So I continued to let myself out and he started hitting me.”
Smith’s friend was locked outside watching in horror. It turns out the person who was recording was a stranger.
“She doesn’t know her,” said Nakeyah Smith’s mother, Tene Smith.
Yet Smith’s mother is grateful the stranger captured what she did.
“Those were blows,” said Tene Smith. “He attacked her.”
Late Wednesday, the front door of the gas station was boarded up – after friends eventually broke the glass to get Nakeyah Smith out safely.
They rallied after learning people have complained about the employee before.
“Check your people,” said Tene Smith. “When you get complaints, check into those complaints.”
Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard said she ordered the police chief to get involved in the investigation personally. She released this statement:
“I am personally saddened, hurt, and angry after viewing this horrifying video. Before any title I may have, I am a Black woman first. This young lady’s pain is also my pain. I have ordered the Chief of Police to be personally involved with this investigation, but to also work closely with the Cook County State’s Attorney to ensure that proper charges are brought upon this coward who committed this heinous act.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
“This incident speaks directly to the issue of violence against women in this country. My heart hurts for this young woman. I am praying not only that she heals from the injuries she has suffered, but moreover the mental aspects in which she will now have to endure.”