Chicago police fatally shot a 55-year-old woman and a teenager early this Saturday in what is being termed a tragic accident. Both victims were African American.
The police responded to a domestic disturbance complaint on the 4700 block of West Erie Street at 4:25 a.m. on Dec. 26. They were met by Quintonio LeGrier on the second floor, who was flinging a metal bat at his father. This, according to the police department, resulted in "the discharging of the officer’s weapon." Bettie Jones, a first-floor tenant, was also shot by officers.
While the police department released only sparse details, Quintonio’s mother revealed that he had been struggling for mental health issues for quite some time. A student of engineering at Northern Illinois University, Quintonio was "finally going somewhere." After an episode, relatives called police on Saturday on the premise that the officers would protect them. The response of police at such a delicate situation was to open fire at someone who was a victim himself.
Jones, a mother of five, fell prey to the trigger-happiness of the police when she tried to answer a shared front door.
This incident, although horrifying, is in no way unusual. Police officers in the U.S. are prone to such accidents, especially in the case of African Americans.
The killings come amid growing criticism of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel. After dashcam videos surfaced of police officers shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, activists flooded roads, demanding Emanuel’s resignation.
On the Dec. 24, "Black Christmas" protesters disrupted last-minute shopping, demanding Emanuel step down.