Charges dropped against migrant mother who had protested for bathroom access at police station

Felony charges against a migrant mother from Venezuela who was arrested after allegedly blocking traffic and scuffling with police over bathroom access were dropped Friday by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

“After additional review of the facts, evidence, and the law related to this incident, we concluded that we could not meet our burden of proof to move forward with the prosecution of this case,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement. “Today in the interest of justice, we asked the court to dismiss this case and the charges were dropped.”

Dayrelys Coy, 21, had been charged with three counts of resisting or obstructing police, which is a Class 4 felony, as well as a misdemeanor citation of obstructing traffic, according to police and court records. The Sept. 9 confrontation with police began after she tried to bring her 3-year-old child into the public bathroom at a Southwest Side police station.

The mother told the Tribune she felt relieved when she learned that the charges had been dropped.

Estamos bien, gracias a Dios,” she said hours after her court appearance, meaning that thanks to the lord, she and her son are doing well.

For now, she and her son are safe, but she is reserved about making further comments.

Coy was arrested after she and other migrants blocked traffic in a protest over bathroom conditions at the 8th District police station. In a previous interview with the Tribune, Coy said that officers had denied them access to the public bathrooms and told them to use the portable bathroom outside.

Coy, whose child has a cleft lip, had said she felt it was unsafe and unsanitary to take her child into that bathroom. Migrants told the Tribune the portable bathroom was cleaned only periodically and not enough for the more than 60 people, including 30 young children, who live at the station.

Bathrooms at police stations are open to the public unless undergoing repairs. The confrontation highlights the tension at police stations across the city, which have become landing spaces for thousands of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, arriving in Chicago to seek asylum as they wait for temporary housing in a city-run shelter. There are 2,000 migrants living in stations across the city, according to the latest numbers.

After the confrontation, the police station cleaned and opened up the bathrooms to the public, said Erika Villegas, lead volunteer of the Police Station Response Team at the 8th District station. She also said two more portable bathrooms have been added outside the station.

“We are relieved and glad that this mother doesn’t have to deal with this hurdle,” Villegas said.

The mother and her son had been living at the station for more than three months, Villegas said and she hopes that now that they are in a city-run shelter, they can quickly start the process to find a permanent apartment.

When that happens, she said, the team will be there to help them move in and furnish it.

“We are wishing her and her son the best of luck and hope to see them in the future when we help them move into the apartment,” Villegas said.