Youth activists and concerned citizens of Chicago plan to converge Wednesday, Dec. 30 on the Chicago Police Department’s District 11 headquarters to demand the termination of the officers involved in last weekend’s killings of 55-year-old mother of five Bettie Jones and 19-year-old college student Quintonio LeGrier.
“What police are calling an accident we are calling a murder. No one accidentally murders someone who answers the door to their own home,” Pierre Keys of We Charge Genocide said in a press release announcing the event, which will be held noon Wednesday at 3151 W. Harrison St.
Some groups are also asking for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after last month’s release of video that showed a police officer shooting to death 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford will have a contingency of supporters with him circulating petitions and gathering signatures that could lead to the legalization of the recall of Chicago’s mayor. Ford, who represents Austin in the Illinois House, introduced the bill hours after the mayor apologized for Laquan’s death.
Just 14 percent of Chicago Police personnel have received crisis intervention training to help respond to calls involving mentally challenged citizens, Marseil “Action” Jackson, director of the Leaders Network youth division, said in a statement.
The voluntary training has been in place for more than a decade, yet fewer than one in five CPD employees have completed it, according to an investigation published earlier this year by The Chicago Reporter.
Rather than attempt to disarm LeGrier – who witnesses said had a bat in his hand – he was shot seven times; the use of excessive force is indicative that a murder took place, Jackson said.
Along with the removal of the officers that were involved, Jackson’s group and others are asking for the entire CPD to be trained in crisis prevention by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“It’s a sad day in America when you have to be scared to call the police for help because you don’t know if they are going to help you or hurt you,” Jackson said.
“Police are hired to protect and serve, but when we have cases like Laquon McDonald, Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier, the community poses the question: ‘Who are they really hired to protect and serve?’ Something has to change.”
Other groups involved in Wednesday’s press conference include the Violence Interrupters, Chicago Youth and Power Group, Dreamz and Visionz.