CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided to cut short his family vacation to Cuba after a 19-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman were shot and killed by police after officers responded to a domestic disturbance on the West Side on Saturday.
“While Mayor Emanuel has been in constant contact with his staff and Interim Superintendent Escalante, he is cutting his family trip short so that he can continue the ongoing work of restoring accountability and trust in the Chicago Police Department. He will arrive back in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon,” Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Monday.
The mayor has been in Cuba with his family for their annual holiday vacation.
Early Saturday morning, police were called to an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Erie Street for a domestic incident. Police have revealed few details on what happened when officers arrived, but have said police “were confronted by a combative subject,” and that an officer fired his weapon, killing two people. The victims have been identified as 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones.
LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, has said her son was shot seven times.
Police have said LeGrier was combative when they arrived. Neighbors said he had a baseball bat.
Cooksey has said she thought her son would be taken to a hospital for mental issues after police say he became combative with his father, threatening him with a baseball bat. Instead, the college student home on break was shot to death.
Jones’ relatives said she was shot as she opened her door, and police have admitted Jones was shot accidentally.
Since the shooting, the Emanuel administration has announced a new policy for the handling of police-involved shootings. From now on, all officers involved in shootings will be placed on administrative duties for 30 days. In addition, the mayor tasked interim Police Supt. John Escalante and acting Independent Police Review Authority chief Sharon Fairley with conducting a complete review of the Police Department’s crisis intervention and de-escalation policies in situations when officers respond to calls involving a mental health crisis.
The mayor has been under intense scrutiny for his handling of police-involved shootings more than a month, ever since Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The same day Van Dyke was charged, the Emanuel administration released police dashboard video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the teen was walking away from police on a Southwest Side street. The mayor’s office fought for more than a year to keep that video under wraps, until a Cook County judge ordered it be made public.
Since then, Emanuel has fired Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, and named Escalante as his temporary replacement, pending a nationwide search for a new top cop. Emanuel also has replaced former IPRA chief Scott Ando with Fairley; and appointed a blue ribbon task force to review the Police Department’s training, oversight, and disciplinary procedures.
The U.S. Justice Department also has opened a wide-ranging civil rights probe of the Chicago Police Department’s policies and practices regarding the use of force to determine if there is any systemic use excessive force or other misconduct. Emanuel initially called such a probe “misguided,” but later reversed course and said he welcomed the probe.
Protesters repeatedly have demanded Emanuel resign over his handling of the McDonald case, but he has said he has no intention of stepping down.