They Were Visiting Chicago, Got Attacked by Teen Mob

Bystander says she 'literally got in front of a police car,' but officers drove around her
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2023 1:35 PM CDT

Chicago police have launched an internal investigation after claims that officers drove right by a couple who were being beaten by a mob. Ashley Knutson, 20, and Devontae "DJ" Garrisson-Johnson, 22, were visiting the city from South Carolina on Saturday when they went looking for a place to eat in the downtown Loop. They were walking through a crowd when Knutson felt someone touch her. "I said, 'DJ, I just got pushed,'" she tells WLS. "He turned around and said, 'Don't you put your hands on her, don't you push her.' As soon as he said that, everything went crazy. They went crazy. Started jumping us, saying they were going to kill us." Garrisson-Johnson, who was brought to the ground, tells WLS that "cops drove by and didn't do anything about it."

Knutson says the teenagers "ran off" as a police vehicle approached "but the cop didn't stop, so as soon as the cop was out of eyesight the kids started turning back." A local shopper who came to the aid of the couple says she "literally got in front of a police car and put my hands up and was telling them, 'Hey, these people are getting assaulted.'" But "the police just cut a path around me and kept going." The shopper, Lenora Dennis, took matters into her own hands. "I said I can't let him just get killed in front of my face," she tells WLS, noting she saw people jumping on Garrisson-Johnson's head. Her own cellphone video shows her running toward the crowd. "Who knows what would have happened if it wasn't for her," Garrisson-Johnson tells WLS.

Dennis ultimately got the couple into her car and drove them to a police station so they could file a report. They'd been stripped of their cell phones, credit cards, and even shoes, while Garrisson-Johnson suffered a dislocated shoulder and numerous bruises. Police, who encountered other disturbances in the area, have since apologized to the couple, per CBS News. They've also opened an internal investigation. Even so, Lt. John Garrido suggests it would've been unsafe for officers to penetrate the crowd of what Dennis estimated was 50 people. "There's just one or two officers in that car" and "they're all told not to go into big groups" due to the risk of injury, Garrido tells WLS. No arrests had been made in the case as of Tuesday, per CWB Chicago. (Read more Chicago stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.