Another day, another example of police brutality. In this case, the victim lived to tell the tale and will even get a settlement from the city of Chicago. In an incident from 2014, Patassa Johnson alleged Sgt. George Granias beat her while she was handcuffed at the 11th District police station. Johnson and her lawyers filed a federal lawsuit, an act which subsequently revealed that Granias was the owner of several websites with racist and offensive domain names.
According to an FBI report, there was a 3.9% increase in the estimated number of violent crimes in the U.S. in 2015, and over the last few years, the nation’s eyes have been fixed on violent events between police departments and people of color.
For many, Johnson’s story is all too familiar. The suit alleges that Johnson was pulled over on suspicion of a DUI. Although she denied the charges (and they were later dropped), Johnson was handcuffed, put in the back of a squad car, and driven to the police station. It was there, Johnson’s lawyers say, that Granias grabbed her and brought her inside the station. Then, “Defendant Granias beat [Johnson] while [Johnson] was in handcuffs.” Johnson required medical attention for the injuries she sustained during this time.
“She was beat up at the police station by a Chicago police sergeant because she was a vocal black woman,” said Brendan Shiller, Johnson’s lead attorney, to The Root.
While Johnson’s legal team was preparing for the case, they found something curious: a site called n**gadown.com, purchased by Granias.
“We came across that URL and said what the hell is this?” Shiller told The Daily Beast. Each month, over 100 billion global web searches are conducted, and many people wrongly assume they can operate anonymously online.
Although the site was blank, because it showed up in Google search results, this suggested to Shiller that Granias actually launched a website after buying the domain name.
“He made it live and accessible to the public,” said Shiller. “You can create a website, but Google wouldn’t know about it unless you make it live and accessible.”
The team subsequently found other domain named owned by Granias, including n**gaguns.com, murdertech.com, deathcomescalling.com, necroarmy.com, supremegirl.com, naomiscarlet.com, conditionaldating.com, patquinnsucks.com (a dig at former Illinois governor Pat Quinn), and several others.
On the day CBS Chicago reported the discovery, an individual who identified himself as George Granias requested that n**gadown.com remove the page that listed him as the owner of the site.
“Please remove my info from n**gadown.com,” read the post. “I haven’t owned it in years and your information is false.”
The website is no longer active, but Granias’ registration is. It will not expire until the end of 2017.
In the meantime, Johnson and her legal team reached a settlement with the city, according to Shiller. The amount is still pending approval from the City Council, but the city is expected to pay $185,000 to Johnson. However, she says the compensation isn’t the same as justice.
“He needs to be fired,” Johnson said. “If he’s fired, then I’m happy because I know he will not be able to do it to anyone else.”
While the Chicago PD has reportedly launched an internal investigation into the websites, Granias is still employed as a full-time officer with the department.