Chicago Cops Can't Stop Shooting Black People Dead For Some Reason

Quintonio LeGrier, 19, and Bettie Jones, 55

We still don't know why Chicago police used deadly force against 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier after his father, Antonio LeGrier, called 911 early Saturday morning to report that his son was threatening him with an aluminum baseball bat. We don't even know whether Quintonio LeGrier was shot by one cop or more than one, but we do know he was shot seven times. We also know the LeGriers' downstairs neighbor, Bettie Jones, 55, was also "accidentally struck and tragically killed," according to police -- though there again, we don't know the exact circumstances. Only a very cynical person would suggest Chicago police are holding off on releasing details because they're hiding something -- although, given the department's recent history of trying to hide evidence of abusive policing, there are a lot of questions about how a domestic disturbance call ended up with two people dead.

Antonio LeGrier told the Chicago Sun Times his son was an engineering student at Northern Illinois University, home for winter break, and that Quintonio had some emotional issues. LeGrier said when he came home early Saturday morning from a Christmas party Quintonio hadn't attended, his son seemed "a little agitated." Later, at about 4:15 AM, Quintonio began banging on his father's bedroom door and threatening him. At that point, the older LeGrier called police for help and also called Jones, who lived on the first floor of the two-story house, to tell her, "My son is a little irate. Do not open the door unless the police arrive.” Jones told him she saw Quintonio outside, holding a baseball bat.

When police arrived, Antonio LeGrier said he heard Bettie R. Jones yell, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!”

Antonio LeGrier had reached the third step, as he made his way down from the second floor, when he heard the gunshots.

“I identified myself as the father and I held my hands out,” Antonio LeGrier said.

He said he then saw his son and Jones lying in the foyer. Antonio LeGrier said Quintonio LeGrier was still alive but Jones was not moving.

“My son had some emotional problems. Did it warrant him getting shot and killed? I don’t believe it,” Antonio LeGrier said.

A police statement put it in considerably more bland terms: “Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon, fatally wounding two individuals," the statement said.

The AP reports it's still unclear whether Jones opened the door, or whether LeGrier did; it's also unclear whether LeGrier actually threatened the officer with a bat, or even from how far away the officer(s) fired. If any video exists of the shooting, police haven't said so or released it.

Antonio LeGrier has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Chicago, accusing the police of shooting his son without justification, using excessive force, and failing to give him first aid after the shooting. Quintonio's mother, Janet Cooksey, said she didn't believe the shooting was justified, noting he'd been shot seven times, once in the buttocks, which she believes meant he'd been turning away.

"This needs to stop," Cooksey said, tears streaming down her face as she addressed reporters. "No mother should have to bury her child, especially under these circumstances. The police are supposed to serve and protect us."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut short his vacation in Cuba and is returning to Chicago on Tuesday. Sunday night, following the shooting, Emanuel ordered changes to police training for calls "involving people who may have mental health problems," according to CNN. Several relatives of both LeGrier and Jones have condemned the police for using lethal force instead of trying to talk to LeGrier or use a nonlethal weapon such as a taser, or to have waited until backup arrived, since a baseball bat requires considerably more effort to become a deadly weapon than a gun or knife.

[contextly_sidebar id="94O29kJZSZCoiypDvbnd8tdvXl5GdLeV"]Sadly, we know how this script too often plays out -- after as many delays as possible (and another raft of blog posts and Fox News experts explaining how black people who get killed by police had it coming), the cops will probably not be charged, since they were afraid for their lives, as they always are. Then again, maybe the timing is right in Chicago for an honest investigation and a full explanation of what went wrong. Following recent outrage over the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, Rahm Emmanuel is certainly under pressure to clean up the Chicago PD, and he's promised a full investigation:

"There are serious questions about yesterday's shootings that must be answered in full by the Independent Police Review Authority's investigation," Emanuel said [...]

[Emmanuel also] directed the Chicago Police Department and the leaders of the Independent Police Review Authority to meet immediately to "determine the deficiencies in the current training, and determine what steps can be taken immediately to address them."

How lucky of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones, to have gotten shot just at a time the public is demanding more transparency from the city of Chicago and its police department.

[ThinkProgress / Chicago Sun-Times / Associated Press / CNN]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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