For Families Of People Killed By Police, DOJ Report Offers Little Comfort

(CBS) – A federal report on abuses by the Chicago Police Department brings both hope and heartbreak to families who have had loved ones killed by police.

For Bettie Jones’ daughters, there is still a lot of pain and anger.

On page 6 of the report, Jones is mentioned, along with 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier. Both were killed by Chicago Police Officer Robert Rialmo, who fired his gun responding to a 9-1-1 domestic call.

LeGrier did not  have a gun; police say he had a bat. Jones, a neighbor, died trying to help.

“The very things we say were wrong with response to Quintonio LeGrier’s call are validated in this report,” says Larry Rogers Jr., attorney for the Jones family in its lawsuit against the city.

That includes a lack of training, both in the use of excessive force and proper call response.

Niko Husband’s mother, Priscilla Price, believes these problems also led to her son’s death.  The 19-year-old was shot and killed by officer Marco Proano in 2011, two years before Proano opened fire on a car full of teenagers.

A jury found Proano liable for misconduct and wrongful death, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality.  It’s being appealed, and attorney Don Shapiro believes the Department of Justice report could carry some weight.

When it comes to future change, both families are skeptical.

Meantime, members of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood say the report signals some welcome change, though the document itself won’t be enough.

“It’s a step in the right direction and we need to make some more steps, too,” Tyrone Thomas says.

Darlene Harston says among those steps is rebuilding trust between the public and police.

“A lot of people don’t tell what’s going on because the police point the finger at them, so that just kind of steers them away,” she says.

Activist Damon Williams is the co-founder of The #LetUsBreathe Collective. He is not so optimistic.

“I think they are reporting things our community has known for generations,” Williams says. “We need to come together as a community to organize, not only to continue to put pressure on City Hall and the Chicago Police Department, but to come together and create solutions to the violence that’s happening in our city.”

Father Michael Pfleger says there must be buy-in across the Chicago Police Department.

“Unless it is truly embraced, not just by the superintendent, but enforced all the way down to the cop on the street, the problem continues to go on,” the activist priest says.

 

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