When the SWAT officer burst into his bedroom, Amir Worship put up his hands – and the officer shot him anyway. Moments later, the 12-year-old felt a terrible pain in his knee as he lay, shirtless and terrified, on his bed.
It was early morning on May 26 and a SWAT team was executing a search warrant on Amir’s family home when the young Black boy was shot without warning with an automatic rifle. SWAT officers swarmed the house with automatic rifles, throwing flash-bang grenades as they stormed inside, looking to arrest Mitchell Thurman, the boys’ mother’s live-in boyfriend, on drug and gun charges.
The criminal case against Thurman was dismissed less than a month later.
The boys’ mother also says that police outright lied to her. When she asked what was happening, they said they had “shot someone walking past outside,” but they also physically restrained Worship from leaving so she could help Amir and wouldn’t let her go to the hospital either.
The family is now suing the city of Country Club Hills, Ill., the village of Richton Park and several police officers, according to The Washington Post. The suit claims a SWAT team “needlessly and recklessly terrorized and injured” Amir and his 13-year-old brother. Amir’s brother had handcuffs cinched so tightly on him that they left marks on his wrists, The Post reported.
It is the latest incident in a string of law enforcement officers in the Chicago area being accused of using excessive force on children of color during raids.
The family is suing for damages in excess of $50,000, alleging negligence, willful and wanton conduct, assault, battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and emotional distress. Amir will never walk normally again or be able to play sports because of the shooting, and he has been in the hospital several times because the wound became infected.
“There is a silent epidemic of trauma being perpetrated upon the children and families of color by Chicago and South Suburban police barreling into the wrong homes, handcuffing innocent adults, holding guns on children, handcuffing children, trashing their homes, refusing to show warrants, and screaming dehumanizing commands,” the Worships’ attorney, Al Hofeld Jr., said in a news release Thursday. “Now, children are being shot in their beds.”
Law enforcement has been silent on this incident.