Use-of-force incident against 20-year-old black man


Daily file photo by Zack Laurence

An Evanston Police Department squad car. Police officers arrested and charged Trent Hunt with disorderly conduct last Wednesday after tackling him to the ground.

Sneha Dey, City Editor

Evanston Police Department used force to arrest and charge Trent Hunt, a 20-year-old black man, with disorderly conduct Wednesday night. Evanston residents are now demanding charges be dropped in a petition that has garnered over 9,000 signatures.

Police made a traffic stop and detained Kevin Washington, a 20-year-old black man, on the sidewalk of Church St. and Ashbury Ave. Police alleged Washington came from a “suspicious area.” They did not provide a reason for detainment, according to a statement from Evanston Youth.

Hunt witnessed Washington’s detainment while driving and pulled over. He called Washington’s parents and recorded the incident from his cell phone. Police asked Hunt to stop recording and aggressively followed him, according to the statement. When Hunt walked away, officers used force to tackle him to the ground.

Illinois law permits legal recordings of interactions with the police. Evanston Police Department has declined to comment, but a video of the incident has been posted on Facebook. Body camera footage will be made public, according to Interim City Manager Erika Storlie.

Storlie also said the footage would be reviewed by City Council and EPD leadership, and that Chief Demitrous Cook has expedited review of this incident. The “Justice for Trent Hunt” petition demands a full investigation of officers involved and that a public Evanston committee have oversight of the investigation.

Evanston Police Department stretched the meaning of disorderly conduct, according to Betty Ester, president of local police accountability non-profit Citizens Network of Protection. Ester told the Daily she has seen incidents like this before, and that she does not recommend residents run from the police, as Hunt appeared to do in the video.

The use-of-force incident comes after a police officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. On Sunday afternoon, Evanston residents protested against police brutality, the loss of Floyd, and the incident involving Hunt and Washington.

Just last month, 24-year-old Evanston man Demetrius Bogan was shot by Skokie police. Officers responded to a call about a suspicious person, who was later identified as Bogan, inside a vehicle near a 7-Eleven, according to a press release,

Police said Bogan threatened officers with a handgun and an officer shot Bogan in the abdomen. Bogan now faces three felony charges, including aggravated assault, the department said. Skokie Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ald. Cicely Fleming wrote in a statement that she plans to hold EPD officers accountable.

“I am very aware of a video circulating right now and very concerned about the visual and potential aftermath,” Fleming said. “Just as you should hold me accountable, I will hold others accountable. I will not always win, but I will always speak up.”

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