DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) – Video produced exclusively by WBBM-TV in Chicago shows an employee at a gas station in Illinois beating a woman who says she just wants to use the 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 10pm the lights at the 24 hour terminal were off and it was still closed. It equates to a mission accomplished for the protesters, who are angry about the assault on the woman.
Protesters launched a rally and a cry of outrage earlier in the day at Shell station on Sibley Avenue and Lincoln Avenue in Dolton. Crowds gathered to find the woman, Nakeyah Smith, who was bruised after the assault.
Smith told WBBM’s Jermont Terry: “Watching the video myself, every time I close my eyes to go to sleep, that’s all I see. Sher said she tried to use the gas station’s restroom and was initially denied by the man behind the counter. But there is also a woman working.
Terry: “And what did you ask that woman?”
Blacksmith: “‘Can I use the bathroom?'”
Terry: “And she let you go?”
Blacksmith: “She let me go to the bathroom.”
Terry: “And as you are walking towards the bathroom…”
Blacksmith: “I heard him coming from behind the counter and going to lock the door.”
Fearing what the man would do, Smith said she accidentally urinated in the aisle. She said she had a medical condition related to 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, staff wouldn’t let her. “The video you get – that’s the end of the situation,” she said. “It’s not the beginning.”
She said the man refused to unlock the door.
“So I started unlocking the door. He pushed me. I pushed him back,” Smith said. “So I kept letting myself loose and he started hitting me.”
Smith’s friend was locked outside watching in horror. Turns out the person recording was a stranger. “She didn’t know her,” said Nakeyah Smith’s mother, Tene Smith, who is grateful the stranger caught a glimpse of what she was up to.
“Those are the blows,” said Tene Smith. “He attacked her.”
Late Wednesday, the front door of the gas station was plugged up – after friends finally smashed the glass to get Nakeyah Smith out safely. They regrouped after learning that people had complained about the employee before. “Check your people,” says Tene Smith. “When you get complaints, check them out.”
Police Dolton sat outside the gas station Tuesday night. The man turned himself in to Dolton police on Tuesday afternoon – two days after the assault.
Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard said she has ordered the sheriff to personally participate in the investigation. She made this statement:
“Personally, I am deeply saddened, hurt and angry after watching this horrifying video. Before any title I might have, I’m a Black woman first. This lady’s pain is also my pain. I have requested that the Sheriff be personally involved in this investigation, but also work closely with the Cook County State Attorney to ensure that appropriate charges are brought against the coward. committed this heinous act.
“This case speaks directly to the issue of violence against women in this country. My heart aches for this young woman. I pray not only that she will heal from the hurt she has suffered, but also the spiritual aspects she will now have to endure.”