On a cold January 15th in 2015, D’Nardo Mack was sitting in Millennium Station. For absolutely no visible reason, a police officer began to pepper-spray and start beating Mack, soon joined in by other officers.
Mack spent 20 months in prison, wrongfully arrested for allegedly attacking the Metra officer. The entire incident was caught on video and after an internal investigation, Metra has agreed to pay Mack $250,000 in a settlement.
Questions still remain as to why the officer, David Robertson, decided to start attacking Mack, who doesn’t appear to do anything to provoke, instigate, or escalate the situation as it appears on the video. And also, why did it take so long for the truth to come out?
Part of the reason is that Metra records over security footage after a month, according to NBC Chicago. But what did Robertson in was the fact that he took his own footage, with his cell phone, while watching the security video after the attack.
In a strange twist, it was Robertson himself who handed over the video of him and other officers watching the original footage to prosecutors. And he wasn’t just watching the video. He and other officers were making comments and laughing at Mack.
Mack’s attorney Marty Gould said, “you got officers laughing saying now we know how you hurt yourself you were swinging too hard. That’s the biggest problem with this case. There were numerous officers present and nobody said anything.”
According to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis, “every officer who can be seen or heard in that video has been terminated for this or other issues, has left Metra or has been disciplined. Only one remains on the force.”
Previously, attorneys had subpeoned Metra to release footage of the video but they had no official recording. “We were unaware that Robertson had made a copy of the original recording until the office of the Cook County state’s attorney notified us in November 2016,” Gillis said. “We immediately began our internal investigation at that time.”
As for the ignored subpeona, “We can’t say for sure what happened — the court records officer and his supervisor at the time have retired — but we acknowledge that ultimately Metra management is responsible,” said Gillis.
Metra will soon equip every officer with a body camera (as all CPD officers are now required) to hopefully prevent future situations like this one. Officer Robertson was fired last December and has been criminally charged with aggravated battery, perjury, and official misconduct.
Now Robertson and other officers are suing Metra charging racial and gender discrimination played a role in the charges against him and termination.