An Illinois police department says it’s exploring ways to pursue legal action against online commentators who falsely accused it of beating up a woman after she broadcast a Facebook Live video showing her swollen face following an arrest.
Andrea Morris, while in custody at the Sauk Village police department, sparked outrage on social media as she talked about a recent incident in which their officers had “tased” her.
“The police tased me, I don't even know what happened after that, my whole face is f----d up, she said, while fighting back tears. “I look like a different person.”
One commenter then responded to the video claiming that “Sauk Village police beat her in her sleep!" – an accusation that was shared numerous times – and one the department is denying, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
Authorities say Morris was actually trespassing on the property of her ex-girlfriend, who had became fearful that she would break the windows on her home. Morris resisted arrest twice and while trying to run away, was tasered by an officer and fell face-first on a sidewalk, they added.
The department’s chief, Robert Kowalski, told Fox 32 Chicago that they may make an example of those who were spreading the “beat her in her sleep” claims on social media.
“We will definitely discuss this matter with my detective and run it past the states attorney’s office to see if there’s anything we can do legally against any individuals who are promoting these allegations against the police department,” he said.
Sauk Village police added that they took Morris to a local hospital to be evaluated and she is now facing charges of resisting arrest and trespassing. Her ex-girlfriend also told the station that she backs the police’s version of events up.
Police departments around the U.S. in recent months have taken to releasing bodycam and dash cam footage to clear officers of alleged wrongdoing. The false claims against officers have ranged from sexual assault to profiling.