The Chicago Police Department, which is currently dealing with the fallout from the Laquan McDonald shooting and a Department of Justice investigation, has been hit with another scandal. Two Black Chicago residents were shot dead by local police over the weekend. Even more troubling is the fact that one of the victims, Bettie Jones, was a 55-year-old grandmother who had nothing to do with the domestic situation the police were called to respond to.
The CPD admitted their error in a statement to the press.
“The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed,” the statement said. “The department extends it’s [sic] deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”
Police were called to respond to the home of the father of Quintonio Legrier in the early hours of Sunday morning. The police report claimed Legrier, a former honors student who suffered from mental problems, was acting aggressively and threatening people with a metal baseball bat.
According to the police, Legrier threatened CPD officers when they arrived on the scene and they responded with deadly force. But it’s curious why the officers had to shoot Legrier when was only holding a baseball bat.
The Legrier shooting is an all too familiar story. Black family calls police because their family member is having mental issues. Police arrive and shoot the family member dead. Janet Cookesy Legrier’s mother, said her son, an engineering student at Northern Illinois University, was living a positive life.
“My son was going somewhere,” Cooksey told The Chicago Tribune. “He wasn’t just a thug on the street.”
Police have yet to explain how Jones, who lived in a downstairs apartment, ended up shot dead.
Cooksey said the Black community could not count on the CPD.
“We’re thinking the police are going to service us, take him (Legrier) to the hospital,” she said. “They took his life.”
Cooksey also said the police used excessive force.
“Seven times he was shot,” Cooksey said. “He didn’t have a gun. He had a bat. One or two times would have brought him down. You call the police, you try to get help and you lose a loved one. What are they trained for? Just to kill? I thought that we were supposed to get service and protection.”
Cooksey was also critical of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is facing calls to step down over his handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting.
“Emanuel, I want a personal apology for my son’s life,” Cooksey said.
Katelyn Johnson, executive director of the community activist group Action Now, said Chicago’s criminal justice system had broken down.
“We are demanding authentic justice,” Johnson said in a statement. “The so-called ‘criminal justice’ system is a farce, when people who are supposed to protect have become the perpetrators. The entire system needs to be changed, from the racist, unjust policies to the people who enforce them.”
She also said this latest incident was symptomatic of the CPD’s “shoot first and cover it up” culture.
According to The Associated Press, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. Danny Davis were among the 100 people who staged a vigil for Jones and Legrier outside their home on Sunday. Some of them chanted, “This is not an accident!”