DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) — Video obtained exclusively by WBBM-TV in Chicago shows an attendant at an Illinois gas station beating a woman who said she only wanted to use a bathroom.
Be warned that the video is graphic. The video also sparked protests outside the gas station, forcing it to close early on Wednesday. By 10 p.m., the lights at the 24-hour station were off and it remained closed. It amounted to a mission accomplished for the protesters, who are furious about the attack on the woman.
The protesters offered up a rally and a cry of outrage earlier in the day at the Shell station on Sibley Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue in Dolton. The crowd gathered for the woman, Nakeyah Smith, who was left bruised after the assault.
“Seeing the video for myself, every time I close my eyes to go to sleep, that’s just all I see,” Smith told WBBM’s Jermont Terry. Sher said she tried to use the gas station’s restroom and was originally denied by the man behind the counter. But there was a woman working too.
Terry: “And you asked that woman what?”
Smith: “‘Can I use the bathroom?’”
Terry: “And she allowed you to go?”
Smith: “She let me to go to the bathroom.”
Terry: “And as you’re walking towards the bathroom…”
Smith: “I hear him come from behind the counter and go to lock the door.”
Fearful of what the man would do, Smith said she accidentally urinated herself in the aisle. She said she has a medical condition involving her bladder. “It’s a medical condition,” she said. “I can’t control it all the time.”
Smith said when she tried to leave the store, the employee would not let her. “The video you got – that was the end of the situation,” she said. “That was not the beginning.”
She said the man refused to unlock the door.
“So I started to unlock the door. He pushed me. I push him back,” Smith said. “So I continued to let myself out and he started hitting me.”
Smith’s friend was locked outside watching in horror. It turns out the person who was recording was a stranger. “She doesn’t know her,” said Nakeyah Smith’s mother, Tene Smith, who is grateful the stranger captured what she did.
“Those were blows,” said Tene Smith. “He attacked her.”
Late Wednesday, the front door of the gas station was boarded up – after friends eventually broke the glass to get Nakeyah Smith out safely. They rallied after learning people have complained about the employee before. “Check your people,” said Tene Smith. “When you get complaints, check into those complaints.”
Dolton police were sitting outside the gas station Tuesday night. The man turned himself in to Dolton police late Tuesday afternoon – two days after the assault.
Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard said she ordered the police chief to get involved in the investigation personally. She released this statement:
“I am personally saddened, hurt, and angry after viewing this horrifying video. Before any title I may have, I am a Black woman first. This young lady’s pain is also my pain. I have ordered the Chief of Police to be personally involved with this investigation, but to also work closely with the Cook County State’s Attorney to ensure that proper charges are brought upon this coward who committed this heinous act.
“This incident speaks directly to the issue of violence against women in this country. My heart hurts for this young woman. I am praying not only that she heals from the injuries she has suffered, but moreover the mental aspects in which she will now have to endure.”