CHICAGO: Friends and relatives of two African-Americans fatally shot by police in Chicago issued an emotional plea for justice Sunday, calling the incident the latest proof that the city’s officers are far too quick to use deadly force.
Family members held a press conference following Saturday’s police shootings of Bettie Jones, 55, a mother of five, and Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old engineering student.
Both were shot and killed after police were called to a private residence in response to a call about a domestic dispute.
News reports said the teen struggled with mental health issues, and had been threatening his father with a baseball bat.
A short time after arriving on the scene, police opened fire, striking LeGrier, who they said was charging down the stairs carrying the bat.
Jones, LeGrier’s downstairs neighbor, who opened the door for officers as they arrived, also was struck by a police bullet and died Saturday at the hospital.
Separately, police fatally shot another man within hours of the other two shootings, according to news reports, some of which said the man was armed but had dropped his weapon and had his arms raised when police opened fire.
Many in this Midwestern city—already reeling from other recent incidents in which police are said to have been too ready to pull the trigger on their service weapons —condemned the shooting.
‘A badge to kill?’
“This needs to stop,” LeGrier’s mother Janet Cooksey told reporters Sunday.
“No mother should have to bury her child, especially under these circumstances. The police are supposed to serve and protect us,” Cooksey said through tears. “Is it a badge to kill?”
She added, at the press conference attended by a couple dozen people, that her son was “a good child” and an honor student.
“Seven times my son was shot, once in the buttocks—that showed he was turning away,” said the grieving woman said.
Bettie Jones’ nephew, Jahmal Cole, in an interview with CNN, described her as a church-going grandmother and community pillar.