Latest Chicago Police Shooting Ramps Up Calls For Mayor To Step Down
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
A city already tense over police shootings experienced another over the weekend. Chicago police killed a young man and also a middle-aged mother.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
These new shootings came amid protests and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. NPR's Cheryl Corley has been covering this story from Chicago. Cheryl, good morning.
CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Good morning.
INSKEEP: You know, politically we lump all these cases together. But, of course, every case is a mass of very particular details. So what are the details so far as you know in this latest case?
CORLEY: Well, here's what we know is that police responded to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance between 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a college student who was home for the holidays, and his father. The father reportedly said his son was acting erratically, wielding a bat. And police say when they arrived they were confronted by a combative subject. And they discharged their weapons and wounded two individuals, LeGrier being one of them, and 55-year-old Betty Jones, a mother and a grandmother. She lived downstairs. And, by some accounts, had opened the door for police when she was also shot. Authorities say her death was a tragic accident.
INSKEEP: So friendly fire in effect in one case there. And as far as the 19-year-old, we don't know.
CORLEY: We don't know.
INSKEEP: OK. Well, how have people responded to that news so far?
CORLEY: Well, as you might imagine, Steve, there's been plenty of anger, and it's been very mournful. Of course, this happened during a holiday. And yesterday, family members and activists held a vigil. And there were a few press conferences. Janet Cooksey, Quintonio LeGrier's mother, was not only angry but dismayed by what had happened to her son.
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JANET COOKSEY: Something just needs to be done. I used to watch the news daily. And I would grieve for other mothers, other family members, and now today I'm grieving myself. When do it come to an end? I mean, when do we get answers? What happened to tasers?
CORLEY: And, you know, she said that the Chicago police had just failed her and that they had failed the community by taking lives instead of protecting them. At another press conference, attorney Sam Adam, Jr., representing the family of Betty Jones, was incredulous as well, saying Jones's cooperation with police led to her death. And he wants a federal task force to train officers on how to deal with those communities. And that's been some of the reaction that's been happening around here.
INSKEEP: Interesting question she poses there. She says what happened to tasers? I mean, there's a whole world of argument behind that question. She's essentially saying why didn't they find some less violent way to disarm this troubled, in some fashion, young man, a reportedly troubled young man. So as that investigation goes forward, where are the officers? Are they still on duty?
CORLEY: They are on desk duty while that investigation is underway. That's a new policy, that they have to take care of routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days. And that's a new kind of protocol that's been in place - been put into place for all officer-involved shootings. Mayor Emanuel also issued a statement last night saying it's clear that changes are needed. He called on the police department and the Independent Police Review Authority to immediately review the crisis intervention team training that provides guidance on how officers handles - handle calls for services that involve mental health crises. He said the police brass need to determine what deficiencies there are in current training and what immediate steps can be taken to change that.
INSKEEP: What's next Cheryl?
CORLEY: Well, the city's interim police superintendent says he'll be meeting early this week with other officials to evaluate those crisis intervention procedures, and of course, protests will continue.
INSKEEP: OK. Cheryl, thanks very much.
CORLEY: You're welcome.
INSKEEP: That's NPR's Cheryl Corley in Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.