Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Why was teen carrying loaded gun?

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By Ray Hanania

Last week, Perri Small, a friend and WVON-AM radio host, Facebooked me, asking what I thought of news reports of an Arab teenager who was beaten by Oak Lawn police?

She noted, sarcastically, I “have no compassion for Black boys.”

I had just heard of the incident, which took place on Wednesday, July 27. Oak Lawn police stopped a vehicle that was missing a front license plate, smelled burnt cannabis in the car and asked each of the three teenagers to exit the vehicle to be patted down.

Two of the passengers consented to be searched, and nothing happened. But when the third teenager, later identified as Hadi Abuatelah, 17, of Palos Hills, exited the vehicle with what looked like a military weapons satchel. He ran and the police gave chase.

Police said it clearly appeared as if there was a weapon in that satchel that was strapped over his shoulder. The police gave chase, caught him and tried to restrain and handcuff him, punching him repeatedly in the arm and face to get his hands away from the weapon. A videotape showing only the beating quickly went viral.

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Ray Hanania

Activists in the Arab and Muslim community immediately protested and called a press conference on Thursday, July 28, bringing in an official of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim American lawyer, the mother, and members of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). They all insisted the beating was “another example” of “police brutality” and “racist targeting” of a minority, this time an Arab Muslim.

CAIR’s Ahmad Rehab released a statement, “Regardless of the alleged infraction that led to the arrest, the video clearly shows a restrained teenager in submission, not resisting, being brutally beaten by three officers without justification. As a result, he has sustained internal bleeding to the head, a broken nose, and other bodily injuries, all fully avoidable. The issue here is excessive force and police brutality. Something we are seeing again and again and again.”

“Regardless of the alleged infraction?” Are you kidding me? The video is only part of what happened.

What about the weapon? What is a 17-year-old doing in a car with drugs and a 25 mm semi-automatic weapon with three live rounds of ammunition in a bag around his shoulder?

After protesters fiercely denounced the police, Oak Lawn Police Chief Daniel Vittorio acted quickly to respond to the accusations emphasizing police suspected the teenager had a weapon. It makes sense. Why would he run? Nothing happened to the other two teenagers. They weren’t beaten.

Abuatelah was face-down on the ground as police officers punched his arms and head repeatedly to get him to move his hands away from the weapon, which was in the satchel under his chest.

Abuatelah resisted and he and another officer were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Vittorio said Abuatelah continued reaching for the weapon and the satchel.

I spoke to a witness who I know and who was in the drive-thru ordering a shawarma sandwich at Hakuna Matata restaurant at 6035 W. 95th St., near where police caught the armed teenager.

Fearing bullying from activists who attack anyone who questions their claims, I’m not printing her name. She said she was waiting for her order when Abuatelah, holding the weapons bag, ran past her car, followed by the police.

“It looked like a bag that you would hold a weapon and ammunition in. I was frightened,” she told me. “A police officer ran right past me in the car through the drive-thru.”

The suspect kept looking back at the police as he ran with the satchel around his head and shoulder clutched in his hands.

Once the teenager was on the ground, she heard people at the restaurant come out yelling, “What did he do? Why are you beating him?”

Imagine if police had seen teenager Salvador Ramos carrying weapons in a satchel on May 24. Imagine if they tried to grab him and he resisted, and they beat him to get the weapons before he could enter the school.

The police would have prevented a massacre. The activists would be denouncing “police brutality,” defending Ramos and downplaying the weapons.

But police did not catch Ramos. Instead, he entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and murdered 19 little children and two teachers.

The question again is why did Abuatelah have an illegal weapon, and what was he planning to do with it?

Yes. I have no compassion for any teenager — black, white, Hispanic, Asian or Arab — who has a weapon and is using drugs. I blame the parents who show no concern that their child has a dangerous weapon, and I don’t blame the police. They put their lives on the line to protect people from criminals with guns.

Shame on those who defend this kid. He needs help, but clearly he won’t get it.

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

13 Comments

  1. Judy S on August 1, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    You nailed the obvious that is never considered! I don’t care what race, color or creed… all I know is he was in nearby neighborhood with a loaded gun… he wasn’t just driving around for the afternoon. Kudos to the police that avoided whatever was on this kids mind!



  2. Diana Rady on August 1, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    This is what I said since day one! Why does he have an assault weapon? Good job for Oaklawn Poluce Department! I back the blue.!



  3. Tim on August 1, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    100% agree but have you bothered to look into the teenager’s background at all? Sorry I know your not a journalist per say just wondering.



  4. David on August 1, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    Wait to see what oak lawn is going to pay him



  5. Mike Conroy on August 2, 2022 at 8:01 am

    Amen



  6. Sandra on August 2, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    Police have a very hard job that many people would not do to begin with , what’s up with the mother , she should be first concerned about why her son had a gun with him , that mother should be thanking them officers because they could have saved her son from following throu with his plans which could of either sent this kid to prison or the morgue



  7. Lola vertucci on August 2, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you for speaking the truth!



  8. Rik on August 2, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    If I found out my son was in possession of a semi-automatic weapon…he’d be wishing the police got to him before I beat him within an inch of his life. But, wait, we can’t do that anymore….soooo there in lies the problem. All we have now is Thugs raising more disrespectful thugs! And, it’s NOT a RACE problem, it’s a cultural problem. The neighborhood culture is changing, and NOT for the better. I have no sympathy for any White Black Brown Muslim or otherwise, brat, for acting like an ass in the street. Or, their idiot parents who are probably sitting home smoking weed themselves and not knowing what’s up with their kids!



  9. Wild bill Hikok on August 2, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    All facts there are parent responsibility law I say throw the parents in.jail as well ?



  10. Alice E-T on August 3, 2022 at 8:50 am

    Thank you Mr. Ray for restating the crux of the matter, “Why was teen carrying loaded gun?”. As a 30+ year resident of Oak Lawn I am frightened by the outcry of those who are demonizing the Police for doing their job, we don’t want problems with lawlessness, most of us appreciate Police efforts. Now we have to listen to the media construe this incident as being “police violence toward a teenager”, terrible!



  11. Shelli on August 3, 2022 at 9:41 am

    God bless the good guys and gals who put their life on the line for us…. great job OLPD, you may have stopped a murder ….
    I’m out house we back the ???? blue!!!



  12. James on August 3, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    How did he get the weapon? Did his mother who cried racist police brutality help him get it? Or know he had it? Or let him keep it? And what of his father? If they broke the law then they also should be prosecuted.



  13. Shad on August 5, 2022 at 12:11 pm

    I don’t dispute the suspect was in the wrong for everything he did and parents should be liable, but if beating the suspect while on the ground is standard operating procedure then we have a problem. Why not tase him if he didn’t comply with first command, why beat him first and then tase him after? That would have saved the tax payers of Oak Lawn a soon to be settlement payout.



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