In 2010, Chicago police officers viciously attacked me. The incident haunted me — and then I made a discovery
On February 7, 2010, I was nearly beaten to death by the Chicago police.
That night, along with a colleague of mine from the University of Chicago, I was brutally assaulted by police officers in an unprovoked attack. The tremors the experience provoke still remain with me today. But as a survivor, I have striven to take hold of them, to commit to the positive remains of a night that is forever etched in my soul.
Chicago media aired basic facets of the ordeal when the case was publicly revealed in a federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by us against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. The city and police aggressively fought us through a variety of means. For three years, we were committed to fighting our case in court, putting in thousands of combined labor hours between the two of us. Then at the last moment, just weeks before the expected March 2014 trial, we were cornered into a settlement.
In the days immediately after the incident — before the battered and bruised post-assault photos were released into the public, tying us by name to an attack by police — I was tremulous, faced with the prospect of standing up in a University of Chicago classroom, where I was a PhD candidate, in front of my students. I would also have to attend faculty staff meetings. This was all after just having been brutally beaten by police.
In the aftermath of that assault, I went from being a historian and lecturer in a prestigious university to a police violence victim. The latter identity was one that I wanted nothing to do with for a while. It was one that I had difficulty accepting.