Update: All Charges Dropped Against Migrant Mother Arrested After Asking to Use Bathroom at Police Station

Public outcry made this outcome possible.

Last weekend, I published an interview with a mutual aid volunteer about a disturbing incident at the 8th District police station in Chicago, when a 21 year-old migrant mother was arrested on felony charges after repeatedly asking to use the bathroom. After being instructed by 311 operators to use the public bathrooms inside the police station, asylum seekers were repeatedly turned away by police, who had locked the bathroom doors. Parents who were desperate to properly care for their children had pleaded with police to no avail. Eventually, asylum seekers began to engage in protest outside the police station, briefly blocking traffic as they demanded access to functional bathrooms. After their act of protest, a young mother was singled out by cops at the scene and arrested. Police charged the woman with multiple felonies, claiming she had injured police during the course of her arrest — claims that were contradicted by video evidence. You can learn more about the resolution of this case in this article by Jim Daley, who wrote on Friday:

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against the 21-year-old woman in court Friday. Block Club is not naming the woman because she has a pending asylum case.

Appearing before Judge Lindsay Huge, prosecutors didn’t say why they were no longer pursuing the three felony charges of resisting or obstructing officer. A spokesperson for the office said prosecutors determined they “could not meet our burden of proof to move forward with the prosecution of this case,” and asked the court to dismiss.

I wanted to update you all about this case and also to thank everyone who demanded this woman’s release and that the charges against her be dropped. Without public outcry, I do not believe we would have seen a swift withdrawal of these charges. I hope the negative PR around this case will serve as a reminder to the city of Chicago that our newly arrived neighbors have public support in our communities. As struggles around the treatment of asylum seekers in Chicago continue to unfold, I hope we will all show up for these individuals and families, just as we hope someone would show up for us in the face of violence and repression. Refusing to abandon one another is a critical form of resistance in these times.