Woman accused of spitting on police officer turns herself in


CHICAGO – A 20-year-old woman accused of spitting on an off-duty police officer turned herself in to Chicago Police Saturday, more than three weeks after an incident during a protest at City Hall.

Penny Hawthorne, of Oak Park, was seen on video shouting “vulgarities” at the officer on May 23, then spit on his left cheek during a public demonstration, Chicago Police spokesman Officer Patrick McGinnis said.

Her insults and rage captured the attention of the law enforcement community weary of common displays of disrespect.

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The insolent act occurred outside a contentious City Council meeting last month where demonstrators protested a new training academy and the police union marched in support of an officer facing dismissal for a double fatal shooting.

“The officer was participating in a peaceful demonstration inside the City Hall building while off duty and not in uniform when Hawthorne spit in his face after shouting vulgarities at him,” McGinnis said in an email to the Chicago Tribune.

Penny Hawthorne, 20, was caught on video spitting on an off-duty police officer May 23. (Chicago Police Department)

At the time of the incident, Law Enforcement Today contributor Robert Weisskopf reported:

Members of the FOP, frustrated with the treatment from the city government as well as the lack of support from the mayor, staged an orderly demonstration at city hall and then addressed the city council to voice their complaints. This Blue Wednesday demonstration was held to bring attention to the mayor turning his back on officers of CPD as well as his pandering to ant-police media.

This comes at a time when the mayor is running for re-election for a third term, a time when the contract negotiations between the FOP and the city have stalled, and a time when the city is looking down the barrel of a federal consent decree.

In the video from Fox News, you can clearly see the officers marching peacefully while being taunted by anti-police protesters. After shouting something at the off-duty police officers a young woman spits on a passing protesting-officer. This was clearly captured on the news video footage.


A warrant was issued for Hawthorne’s arrest. As a result, she turned herself into Area Central detectives Saturday morning, police said in a news release Sunday.


Hawthorne is the daughter of Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne.

The accused spitter is slated to appear in court July 2.

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