Astarte Washington was rolled over by a CPD SUV on May 31 during the uprisings

A teenage girl who was rolled over by a Chicago Police Department (CPD) SUV in Roseland on May 31 has been identified as 15-year-old Astarte Washington, a 2020 graduate of DuBois Elementary.

“A Ford Explorer police vehicle rolled backward onto Washington twice while she lay lifeless on the ground,” Washington’s family attorney Robert S. Fakhouri wrote in the press release. “The youth sustained permanent and lasting physical, mental and emotional injuries.”

Washington’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago for “willful, wanton and reckless disregard for the safety of others,” according to Fakhouri’s press release. The lawsuit also identifies the CPD officer as Christopher Holmes. 

During her 8th grade year at DuBois Elementary, Washington was the student council president and the captain of the basketball team.

The TRiiBE was the first outlet to report on this story on June 4. 

Fakhouri is hosting a press conference with Washington and her family on Monday, June 29 at 10:00 a.m.

The TRiiBE is reaching out to CPD and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office for comment.

A photo of Astarte Washington in her graduation cap and gown | Photo courtesy of her attorney

According to the complaint filed against CPD, Washington and her brother were walking from their grandmother’s house at 9729 South Yale Avenue to their home at 138 East 120th Place during the George Floyd uprisings on May 31. 

Washington and her brother tried to take the #34 South Michigan bus home but, due to the protests and looting happening in the area, that bus route was out of service. Because of this, Washington and her brother were forced to walk home.

During their walk home, Washington and her brother encountered a large group of protestors, and some looting at the intersection of 111th Street and South Michigan Avenue. This forced Washington and her brother from the sidewalk into the middle of the street. Police were on the scene, attempting to control the crowd.

CPD officers ordered the crowd to stop and lie on the ground. Most of the crowd ran while Washington complied, and laid on the ground. While lying on the ground, CPD Officer Christopher Holmes jumped out of his 2017 Ford Explorer police SUV, without placing the SUV in park, and then the SUV rolled over Washington’s body twice — with the rear and front side tires “causing traumatic and severe permanent injuries” to her.

The TRiiBE reached out to CPD on June 2 about the incident and received the following email statement: that they had no record of the incident. In an emailed statement, CPD said:

“We do not have a City Sports located near 111th/Michigan. I checked two separate locations and no and we do not have record of this incident. Also nothing in the 11100 block of S. Michigan.”

Once The TRiiBE reached out to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s press office, and copied the press office on a follow-up email to CPD, a CPD spokesperson responded with this initial statement:

“An officer was responding to a call of looting in the area, at which time he exited his vehicle at the 11100 block of S. Halsted to assist another officer in need of help. The officer/driver related that after he assisted in securing the scene, he observed his vehicle rolling backward, injuring a 16-year-old female who was running in the street. A male Chicago Police officer was also injured. Both were transported to Christ Hospital in stable condition.”

Hours later, CPD sent a second statement:

“Officers were responding to the 11100 block of South Michigan Ave on May 31st, 2020 at approximately 2:51 p.m. for reports of looting in the area. Upon arrival, an officer exited his vehicle to assist another officer in need of help. He then observed his vehicle rolling backward, injuring one officer and one juvenile civilian who were in the street. A 16-year-old female was transported by ambulance to Christ Hospital, where she was treated and stabilized. The injured officer was also taken to Christ Hospital in good condition. The incident was documented in a traffic crash report. An investigation has been opened into this incident.”

On June 4, The TRiiBE ran a story with details offered by CPD and the public asking for more information. On that same day, The TRiiBE filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with CPD to learn more about the young woman’s condition and details of the incident. On June 17, CPD sent a response to our FOIA request:

Here is a look at the complaint filed by Washington’s family and a copy of the traffic report:

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for more updates.

The story has been updated to reflect that Washington’s family has filed a lawsuit against CPD, and to clarify that the CPD squad that hit Washington was an SUV. 

Vee L. Harrison is a staff reporter for The TRiiBE: vee@thetriibe.com