Several hundred people protested outside the Oak Lawn Police Department in Oak Lawn, Illinois on July 28, after a viral video showed police officers punching a 17-year-old boy during an arrest, local media reported.

Protesters carried posters calling on people to rally against “Racist Police Brutality.” The protest was organized after a video showing three police officers holding down and repeatedly punching 17-year-old Hadi Abuatelah spread online.

Police issued a statement saying the teenager was armed with a semi-automatic handgun at the time.
Oak Lawn Police Chief Daniel Vittorio said an officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and asked a 17-year-old male, identified as Hadi Abuatelah, to exit the vehicle. When asked to place his hands on the car, Abuatelah took off running, police said.

Abuatelah was apprehended by an assisting officer in the area of 95th Street and McVicker Avenue, leading to a struggle, during which Abuatelah reached for his bag, police said.

“Fearing that he was reaching for a weapon in the bag, the officer attempted to physically gain control of his hands,” Vittorio said.

On Thursday, July 28, Abuatelah’s mother, Dena Natour, held a press conference where the incident took place. “You feel so helpless, watching your child, seeing three oversized men just beating him,” Natour said, according to local media.

Credit: Joe Iosbaker via Storyful