'Badge to Kill'? Two More Police Shootings in Chicago Raise Public Ire
Tensions are boiling after police in Chicago shot and killed two more people over Christmas weekend.
Responding to a domestic disturbance at a West Side residence on Saturday, officers fatally shot Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55, authorities said.
Family members reportedly called police to their home Saturday because LeGrier, who had struggled with mental health issues, was threatening his father with a baseball bat. His father then called his downstairs neighbor, Jones, to open the door when officers arrived. According to local station WLS,”[i]t is not clear whether Jones had even finished opening up the door for them when officers fired at LeGrier who was charging down the stairs still carrying the bat.”
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In a press release issued late Saturday night, Chicago Police Department interim Superintendent John Escalante admitted that Jones—a community activist and mother of five—was an innocent victim who was hit by an errant police bullet.
Autopsy findings released Sunday by the Cook County medical examiner’s office say Jones died from a gunshot to the chest and LeGrier, an engineering student at Northern Illinois University home for the holidays, from multiple gunshot wounds.
“You call for help, and the police are supposed to serve us and protect us, and yet they take the lives,” LeGrier’s mother Janet Cooksey said on Sunday. “What’s wrong with that picture? It’s a badge to kill?”
“I would grieve for other mothers, other family members; now I’m grieving for myself,” said Cooksey. “When does it come to an end?”
The latest shootings come amid public outcry over the 2014 police killing of unarmed black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, whose death is shown on dash-cam footage that was released a full 400 days after the incident. The mishandling of McDonald’s case reinvigorated outrage over police misconduct and lack of accountability for city officials—especially Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
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