WBEZ | police shootings http://www.wbez.org/tags/police-shootings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Prosecutor: No charges for white cop who killed black teen in Zion http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-no-charges-white-cop-who-killed-black-teen-zion-112028 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CE-u53ZUsAAe88l.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A prosecutor said Thursday that he won&#39;t charge a white northeastern Illinois police officer in the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old, saying the fleeing teen was holding a loaded handgun and that the officer feared for his life and a fellow officer&#39;s.</p><p>Lake County State&#39;s Attorney Michael Nerheim told reporters an investigation that included the FBI found Zion police Officer Eric Hill was justified in shooting Justus Howell, of Waukegan, on April 4, despite concerns of racial bias that arose after a coroner reported Howell had been shot in the back twice.</p><p>Howell had met a man to buy a handgun but tried to steal it, authorities said. At some point, he scuffled with the seller and the gun went off. Hill arrived minutes later, chased Howell through yards and repeatedly yelled, &quot;Stop and drop your gun,&quot; Nerheim said. The officer shot Howell when the teen turned toward him with the gun in his right hand, Nerheim said.</p><p>Zion is a community of about 24,000 people along Lake Michigan about 45 miles north of Chicago, near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line</p><p>Hill, a nine-year police veteran, feared for his own safety and believed that a fellow officer was just around the corner and that Howell was headed straight for him, Nerheim said.</p><p>&quot;Officer Hill was justified in his decision to use deadly force ... Howell was armed and dangerous,&quot; Nerheim said. He added that Hill&#39;s understanding that shots had been fired earlier and concern for the other officer factored into his calculation to shoot.</p><p>After the announcement by Nerheim at the county courthouse in Waukegan, several community activists gathered to express their anger. Several wore buttons that read, &quot;Fire Nerheim.&quot;</p><p>&quot;People have never had faith in the system and with this, the last faith is out the door,&quot; said Kasey Burton, a 41-year-old Zion resident. &quot;I think people are going to be upset.&quot;</p><p>But hours later, the Zion neighborhood where the shooting occurred was quiet. A bouquet of flowers marked the spot where Howell fell, fatally wounded. Included in a makeshift memorial for him on a nearby corner was a rock with the word &quot;peace&quot; scrawled on it.</p><p>Standing outside a grocery store nearby, resident Darion Nash, 22, said distrust of police runs deep.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t like the police either, and I don&#39;t do anything to get in trouble,&quot; she said. &quot;But they keep getting away with things.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors on Thursday also released a poor quality video of the shooting from a business security camera in which Hill can be seen running about 15 feet behind the teen, when shots are fired and Howell falls forward. Nerheim conceded Howell turned ever so slightly, but he said it was enough for Hill to see Howell&#39;s eye and the silver semi-automatic pistol.</p><p>Outside of the news conference, Howell&#39;s family disputed the decision not to charge the officer.</p><p>&quot;There is no video or pictures of him actually holding a gun,&quot; Alice Howell, the teen&#39;s grandmother, told the Chicago Sun-Times. She previously compared the incident to another police shooting in South Carolina, in which a white officer was charged with murder after a video showed him repeatedly shooting a black man in the back.</p><p>Howell&#39;s mother, LaToya Howell, said she was upset that authorities said video showed her son turning toward Hill.</p><p>&quot;I have seen that video,&quot; Howell said, according the Chicago Tribune. &quot;There is nothing that suggests they should execute my son.&quot;</p><p>Nerheim told reporters that multiple witnesses verified Howell had a gun. Just one, he said, thought Howell may have thrown it to the ground before shots rang out.</p><p>&quot;That is clearly not supported from the other witnesses or the video,&quot; he said.</p><p>Zion police Chief Stephen Dumyahn said he expects Hill to return to duty soon.</p><p>Zion&#39;s police force is currently disproportionately white, with just three black officers and half a dozen Latinos out of a nearly 50 officers in all, according to Dumyahn.</p><p>&quot;Our goal,&quot; he said, &quot;is to do a better job of recruitment.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 14 May 2015 12:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutor-no-charges-white-cop-who-killed-black-teen-zion-112028 Jury clears cops in schizophrenic man’s death http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555 <p><p>A federal jury Thursday afternoon cleared two Chicago police officers in the fatal shooting of a schizophrenic man in his Northwest Side bedroom.<br> <br> Raúl Barriera, 21, died the day after Sgt. Don Jerome struck him in the chest with a Taser electrode and Patrol Officer Andrew Hurman hit him twice with gunfire.<br> <br> Barriera lived with his mother, Lynette Wilson, at 1630 N. Tripp Ave. Wilson brought a lawsuit alleging that the officers used excessive force and that the death was wrongful.<br> <br> The shooting took place February 28, 2007, after Wilson called 911 for help with Barriera, who was refusing to leave his bedroom. In that call, Wilson said her son was a schizophrenic on medication. Paramedics and police officers arrived but Barriera remained in his room.<br> <br> The officers said they used their weapons after Barriera lunged at them with a knife. Wilson’s attorneys disputed that claim.<br> <br> The trial lasted eight days and ended Wednesday. The jury, an eight-member panel, deliberated for about three hours before clearing the city and the officers of liability.<br> <br> Arlene Martin, a city attorney in the case, praised the jurors. “The right thing happened,” she said.<br> <br> Before the trial, U.S. Judge William J. Hibbler threw out a claim by Wilson that the officers lacked sufficient training. WBEZ revealed in 2007 that neither Jerome nor Hurman had attended a 40-hour police department course designed to help officers respond to mental-health crises without using force.<br> <br> Since 2004, the department has put about 1,400 of its officers through the training. A 2008 study by Amy Watson, an associate professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that the training had results.<br> <br> “The trained officers were less likely to . . . pile on top of the person to control them, use a Taser or use some other type of force,” Watson says. “We also found that [the trained] officers directed more people to mental health services.”<br> <br> After the jury returned with its findings, one of Wilson’s attorneys told WBEZ there could be grounds for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to order a retrial. The attorney, Standish Willis, called it “very likely” that Wilson would bring that appeal.</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 23:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555 Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy addresses rise in police-involved shootings http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-26/police-superintendent-garry-mccarthy-addresses-rise-police-involved-shoo <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-26/McCarthy AP file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>During the original broadcast, </em>Eight Forty-Eight<em> said that police have been involved in more shootings over the last six months than in all of 2010. Police dispute that number but could not immediately provide the number of times officers shot at citizens in 2010 or 2011. They provided only the number of times officers shot and injured citizens. According to the Independent Police Review Authority police shot and injured 44 people in 2010. Chicago police say in 2011 they've shot and injured 41 people so far.</em></p><p>Crime is down in Chicago, but the number of police-involved shootings isnot. Monday night two civilians were shot by police-- one a 13-year-old boy. According to Independent Police Review Authority, 18 people have been killed by police fire in 2011 so far. &nbsp;That total for last year was 13. But cops are in the crossfire too: Police say violence toward officers is on the rise. Mayor Emanuel has moved more officers onto the streets. Leading the efforts against crime is Garry McCarthy -- Chicago’s new police superintendent.</p><p>The former Newark, New Jersey police director recently earned his Chicago blues. He decided to complete academy training before donning the Chicago Police Department uniform. Now, Supt. McCarthy is dressed and ready to confront what he described as a "wanton disregard for law." <em>Eight Forty-Eight’s</em> Alison Cuddy spoke to the new police chief the morning after two police-involved shootings.</p><p>Cuddy began by asking Supt. McCarthy about the previous night’s events. The superintendent cautioned that the information he had was preliminary and that he expected a full briefing following completion of the investigation. Generally, McCarthy said, initial information from the scene is incorrect.</p><p>Cuddy repeated an early estimate of eight shots fired, reported by the victim’s family—McCarthysaid he’d heardthere were six.</p><p>“Sometimes he’s [a victim] struck in and out, so, it counts as, you know…two holes, one shot,” McCarthy said.</p><p>Cuddy asked if it was standard to fire multiple shots. The superintendent wanted to dispel some myths: Officers do not aim to shoot someone in the hand, they do not aim at their leg—they’re trained, said McCarthy, &nbsp;to fire at center mass until the threat has been abated. There is no magic number, he clarified.</p><p>The number of police-involved shootings is up— but McCarthy offered some context: The Chicago Police Department recovers more firearms than any other jurisdiction in the country.</p><p>“Just think about that for a second: Every single time a police officer takes a gun off the street, they are in an armed confrontation that can, in fact, result in somebody being killed,” McCarthy said.</p><p>He estimated that some 20 shootings occurred since his arrival; firearms were recovered at 16 of those scenes. The weapon recovered Monday night at the scene involving the 13-year-old victim was described in reports as a BB gun, but McCarthy called it an “imitation pistol” fashioned to look like a real firearm.</p><p>And so, McCarthy explained, it becomes difficult to “armchair quarterback” officers in life-and-death situations when the department is recovering firearms in the vast majority of armed confrontations.</p><p>Cuddy then asked whether the spike in police-involved shootings could be attributed to the sheer volume of guns and weapons. McCarthy said that the unabated flow of illegal firearms into Chicago is fueling the incidents, emphasizing repeatedly the fact that the firearms are illegal.</p><p>Paradoxically, crime in the city is down, but McCarthysaid he &nbsp;is not satisfied.</p><p>“More than 400 murders every year in this city over the last decade or so. Even though it’s down, are we willing to say that’s acceptable?” McCarthy asked.</p><p>McCarthy said no, reducing murders is not enough. A number of officers and new recruits were recently pulled from administrative assignments to patrol streets in high-crime neighborhoods. Cuddy asked whether inexperience or outdated training was a concern—McCarthy said it wasn’t; officers received an update to their training before returning to the field.</p><p>Cuddy asked whether resources or additional back-up could prevent shootings but McCarthy explained that while the former is a union-based issue, the latter is inconsequential.</p><p>“You shoot if you’re in an armed confrontation and you feel that your life is in danger. Whether or not there’s somebody standing next to you or behind you is not a factor in whether or not you’re going to discharge your firearm,” McCarthy explained.</p><p>Murder is not new to McCarthy. Newark, New Jersey and Chicago suffer from homicide rates higher than both New York and Los Angeles. But Chicago’s gang problem is one he did not experience in his last post, he said. &nbsp;People, McCarthy said, often get caught up in “romanticizing” gangs. Cuddy asked him to explain.</p><p>“If you look at defending the honor of your gang and so on and so forth, I mean, let’s face it, that’s nonsense. Defending gang turf, you know, it’s some sort of, ‘yeah, I’m part of a gang and this is what we do.’ I’m sorry, it’s criminal activity—whether you’re dealing drugs, whether you’re shooting somebody or whether you’re involved in a robbery crew,” he elaborated.</p><p>The crusade to end gang violence in Chicago was a totem for the last police superintendent. McCarthy’s predecessor, Jody Weis, was lauded for his efforts to get guns and gangs off Chicago’s streets but criticized for failing to connect with the rank and file.</p><p>McCarthy said that as a police leader, superintendents walk a tightrope between supporting officers when they’re right and disciplining them when they’re not. He said that he has officers’ backs but will not defend indefensible behavior.</p><p>“I’m not going to defend an officer on videotape beating the heck out of a bartender at 2 o’clock in the morning intoxicated,” McCarthy added.</p><p>Mistakes, McCarthy said, must be identified, admitted and &nbsp;not repeated. Fairness and accountability, he said, are the heart of improved morale.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-26/police-superintendent-garry-mccarthy-addresses-rise-police-involved-shoo