An enraged and paranoid Illinois cop arrested a woman for recording him walking through her Cook County neighborhood, claiming she could have been armed.
Village of Justice police officer Joseph Bonkowski was about 40 feet away from the woman when he turns around and storms up to her, placing his face inches from hers while yelling at her like a drill sergeant on the first day of boot camp.
Bonkowski then rips the phone out of her hands and tosses it on the grass, arresting her when she retrieves the phone to continue recording.
The incident took place in April but the woman did not post it on her YouTube channel, ChiTown Sue, until this month where it has outraged members of the auditing community.
This is how she worded it in her description:
I was hanging out and I seen the Justice police come by my house and I know that they don’t have any jurisdiction so I grabbed my camera. I was arrested for OBSTRUCTION. After I was handcuffed the Sgt took me aside and asked for my name, I told him my first name and then he asked for my last, I told him if I haven’t committed a crime I prefer not to give it. He said “THATS IT, TAKE HER TO JAIL.
Apparently Justice PD was in this park because 3 black males pulled a gun out on officer Bonkowski and then ran. Thats what they said…PD chased them here! They had jurisdiction at that point. Officer T. Demella was cool at first until I got arrested and then lied and said he told me they were chasing 3 men with a gun, obviously from my video he lied! Demella went right along with what J. Bonkowski said. He contributed to my arrest with his lies. BONKOWSKI was a TYRANT even after he calmed down. He was very ARROGANT and HOSTILE. Alot of swearing, I was actually pretty surprised on how UNPROFESSIONAL they were in the field.
In lock up Justice PD told me before I put my video up to consider that Officer J. BONKOWSKI just had a gun pulled on him and he could of been scared himself to cause him to act like that. I watched the video several times and he was an asshole from the minute he saw me. He didnt look scared telling me to GTF outta here!
Bonkowski comes across very unstable and irrational in the video. Like a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.
And this whole tale about three black men with a gun is a complete lie because Bonkowski’s bodycam footage shows it was only a single black teen that ran away from him and there was no gun involved.
The video shows him calling the teen over and the teen walks up to him, which is when the cops starts frisking him.
“Where are you guys coming from?” Bonkowski asks while frisking the scrawny teen wearing a Chicago Bulls hoodie.
“What did I do, sir? What did I do, sir?” the teen asks.
“Are you coming from the train tracks?” the cop asks.
“What did I do?” the teen asks again before darting away.
Bonkowski runs after the teen, leaving the teen’s two friends behind who were of no apparent interest to him because he never mentions them as he looks for the one that ran away.
And even though he repeatedly says “10-32” into his radio which apparently is a code for “possible man with a gun,” Bonkowski was treating the teen more like a drug suspect than an armed suspect.
However, he later tells other cops he thought the teen had a gun because he saw him “holding” the gun even though he says he never saw a gun.
But the video shows the teen was holding a phone when he first approached the cop, which he then placed in his pocket as the cop began frisking him.
Before her interaction with Bonknowski, ChiTown Sue was following another Justice cop, a sergeant, who seemed mildly annoyed by her presence but did not let it distract him from doing his job.
“Why are you recording me?” he asks at one point.
“Why not?” she responds. “You’re in my park with no jurisdiction so I’m just curious to know, you don’t have any jurisdiction in here. What’s going on? Where’s the lights and sirens?”
The sergeant ignores her while continuing to walk through the neighborhood remaining aware of her presence but not distracted.
It was only until Bonkowski spots her that things began to sour.
“Go inside your house,” he yells.
“Hell no, I live around here,” she responds. “Can I help you? You guys looking for somebody? Maybe I saw somebody.”
“Get the fuck out of here!” he yells.
“Fuck you, dude, what are you going to arrest me for?” she responds.
Bonkowski threatens to arrests her and she dares him too. He then keeps walking down the street and she follows behind about two house lengths, which was when she notices he has his gun in his hand unlike the sergeant.
Bonkowski keeps glancing back at her, distracted by her presence, unable to ignore her, even though she is further away from him at this point than she was to the sergeant when following him around.
Finally, he cannot contain himself any longer and charges toward ChiTown Sue, the only cop out of the bunch that seemed that bothered by her.
As he is marching her to his car in handcuffs, she brings up ACLU vs Alvarez, the 2012 case that determined Illinois strict eavesdropping law was unconstitutional, therefore giving people the right to record cops in public.
“I don’t give a fuck what fucking cases you fucking know,” he responds.
The Justice Police Department posted the following post on its Facebook page, saying it was aware of the incident.
*The above video is a shortened version of the story using footage from the three videos below, the first one from ChiTown Sue’s YouTube channel, the other from BLACKLAB3L COPWATCH, which combined Bonkowski’s bodycam footage and synced it with her smartphone footage.
The third is his body cam footage unedited, showing how he approaches the teen in the beginning.*