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COPA Releases Video In Case Of Irene Chavez, Who Died In Custody At Grand Crossing District Police Station After Arrest At Jeffery Pub In South Shore

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Civilian Office of Police Accountability late Wednesday released video and other materials connected to the death of Irene Chavez, who died in police custody in December.

Chavez, 33, was arrested on allegations of battery at the Jeffery Pub, at 7401 S. Jeffery Blvd. in South Shore, in the early-morning hours on Saturday, Dec. 18.

Just before 3:30 a.m. that morning, police said in December that Chavez attempted suicide inside the Grand Crossing (3rd) District station, and died at the hospital several hours later.

Chavez's arrest is documented on multiple bodycam videos released by COPA. Officers arrive at the Jeffery Pub to find a man complaining that a woman has brought her own beers with her and became irate when she couldn't play the jukebox because there was a DJ that night. The man says the woman was later asked to leave the bar, at which point she swung at a security guard and hit him, and then spat in the man's face after she was handcuffed while staff waited for police to arrive.

Later when Chavez is arrested, she is heard saying she acted in self-defense and becomes belligerent – yelling expletives at an officer who yells an expletive back at one point.

Body cam video also shows Chavez as she is transported into the police station, and activity at the station in which officers are seen trying to resuscitate her.

In December, Chavez's sister, Iris Chavez, said she got a redacted police report and got stonewalled by detectives when she tried to find out more.

"The Chicago Police Department is here to protect and serve, and that comes with taking care of the mental state of people that they take in," Iris Chavez said. "I'm not quite sure what happened with my sister."

COPA said the incident does not mandate the release of video and other materials under city policy, but COPA Interim Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten has discretion to release materials related to "incidents of great public interest."

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