Chicago, IL – A Chicago police officer was forced to let a handcuffed drug suspect escape after a group of men surrounded the officer and threatened to kill him if he didn’t let the suspect walk.
“Ten people surrounded me, indicating that they had firearms. And one person pulled him away from me, holding his waist, indicating that he would use a firearm against me,” the officer said over his police radio after the harrowing altercation.
The incident occurred in the 4700-block of West Gladys Avenue at about 2:10 p.m. last Sunday, after two Chicago police officers witnessed a drug transaction take place inside a vehicle, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“After he was stopped, the driver exited the vehicle and began to discard bundles of suspected narcotics to the ground,” the Chicago Police Department (CPD) told CWB Chicago.
“Officers were able to detain the subject, but after police began collecting the bundles of suspected narcotics, the offender began to struggle with [officers], thrashing his body around,” the department said. “Police attempted to subdue the offender, who began to kick and strike” the officers.
A crowd of bystanders quickly converged on the scene, and some snatched up the bundles of drugs off the ground.
Other members of the mob surrounded the officers and began “yelling at and threatening” them, the CPD said.
One of the officers attempted to control the unruly crowd, and ultimately took off after a suspect who ran away with some of the suspected narcotics, the Chicago Tribune reported.
That left the second officer alone with the arrestee and the emboldened mob.
The group “implied that they had weapons,” although no one brandished one, CPD Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune.
“Ten people surrounded me, indicating that they had firearms,” the lone officer said over the police radio. “And one person pulled him away from me, holding his waist, indicating that he would use a firearm against me.”
The officer stepped away from the suspect, who was quickly ushered away by someone in the group.
“It was a situation where [the officer] didn’t want to escalate what could have been a very volatile situation,” Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune.
“Gunshots then were heard in close proximity to the incident, putting officers in further fear of their safety,” the CPD told CWB Chicago. “The offender was able to make good his escape with the help of subjects from the crowd.”
He was still wearing the officer’s handcuffs when he fled the scene.
Guglielmi confirmed that someone fired a gun near the scene of the attempted arrest, possibly to intimidate or distract the officers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Additional officers flooded the area, and ended up chasing four men, who were taken into custody about a half block away from the altercation.
They were all later released without being charged.The man the officers had originally attempted to place under arrest was not one of the subjects they apprehended.
Because the suspect is not in custody, is not the subject of an investigative alert, and has no warrants out for his arrest, CPD refused to identify him, CWB Chicago reported.
It was unclear whether or not the CPD is even searching for the escapee or any of the people who threatened to kill the officer.
CPD has not responded to Blue Lives Matter’s request for comment.