WBEZ | police shootings http://www.wbez.org/tags/police-shootings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: November 24, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/morning-shift-november-24-2015-113920 <p><p>One challenge facing the city is how to reduce the number of people, including kids, who are homeless in Chicago. It&rsquo;s a challenge <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/head-chicago-coalition-homeless-retires-113917">Ed Shurna</a> has been tackling for nearly two decades while working at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. On the eve of his retirement, he talks about the changes he&rsquo;s seen over the years.</p><p>Another challenge is determining how to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/archdiocese-chicago-building-priest-recruitment-efforts-113916">increase the number of new priests</a> in the Catholic Church. The man in charge of recruitment for the Archdiocese of Chicago explains how the church here is taking on that task.</p><p>Plus we share another installment of the series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/my-life-three-songs-rabbi-jonathan-sacks-113915">My Life in Three Songs with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks</a> sharing his picks.</p><p>And we enjoy live music from Chicago&#39;s eclectic indie band <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/marrow-releases-album-eclectic-goodness-113913">Marrow</a>.</p><p>Plus we check in with two WBEZ Bureau Reporters about the latest in the cases of two <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/updates-two-police-involved-shooting-deaths-113919">police-involved shootings</a> in Chicago.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/morning-shift-november-24-2015-113920 Officer Accused in Teen's Death Turns Himself In, Expected to Be Charged http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-accused-teens-death-turns-himself-expected-be-charged-113910 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt_3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; The latest on the shooting of a black teenager by a white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer. (All times local):</p><p><strong>9:15 a.m.</strong></p><p>A white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times has turned himself in at the Cook County courthouse where he&#39;s expected to face a murder charge.</p><p>Trailed by reporters and photographers, Officer Jason Van Dyke walked into the courthouse Tuesday morning.</p><p>An official close to the investigation told The Associated Press&#39; Don Babwin that county prosecutors are expected to charge him with murder on Tuesday.</p><p>The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the expected charges.</p><p>The Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was captured on a squad car&#39;s dashcam, and a judge has given the city until the end of Wednesday to release it publicly.</p><p>Several people who have seen the video say it shows McDonald armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers. An autopsy report says he was shot at least twice in his back.</p><p>As reported earlier:</p><p>A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times was expected to be charged with murder Tuesday, just a day ahead of a deadline for the city to release a squad-car video of the shooting.</p><p>Veteran officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to be indicted in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an official close to the investigation told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an announcement of the charge.</p><p>City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the video, fearing an outbreak of unrest and demonstrations similar to those that occurred in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities after young black men were slain by police or died in police custody. The judge ordered the dash-cam recording to be released by Wednesday after city officials had argued for months it couldn&#39;t be made public until the conclusion of several investigations.</p><p>Several people who have seen the video say it shows the teenager armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers on Oct. 20, 2014. They say Van Dyke opened fire from about 15 feet and kept shooting after the teen fell to the ground. An autopsy report says McDonald was shot at least twice in his back. It also said PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in the teen&#39;s system.</p><p>An attorney for Van Dyke did not respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.</p><p>Chicago police also moved late Monday to discipline a second officer who had shot and killed an unarmed black woman in 2012 in another incident causing tensions between the department and minority communities. Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended firing Officer Dante Servin for the shooting of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, saying Servin showed &quot;incredibly poor judgment.&quot; A jury had acquitted Servin of involuntary manslaughter and other charges last April.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel called together a number of community leaders Monday to appeal for help calming the emotions that have built up over the McDonald shooting. Some attendees said city officials waited too long to ask for their involvement.</p><p>&quot;You had this tape for a year and you are only talking to us now because you need our help keeping things calm,&quot; one of the ministers, Corey Brooks, said after the meeting.</p><p>Ira Acree, who described the meeting with Emanuel as &quot;very tense, very contentious,&quot; said the mayor expressed concerns about the prospect of any demonstrations getting out of control.</p><p>Another minister who attended, Jedidiah Brown, said emotions were running so high that there would be no stopping major protests once the video is released.</p><p>The fears of unrest stem from longstanding tensions between the Chicago police and minority communities, partly due to the department&#39;s dogged reputation for brutality, particularly involving blacks. Dozens of men, mostly African American, said they were subjected to torture at the hands of a Chicago police squad headed by former commander Jon Burge during the 1970s, &#39;80s and early &#39;90s, and many spent years in prison. Burge was eventually convicted of lying about the torture and served 4&frac12; years in prison.</p><p>The two ministers said blacks in the city are upset because the officer, though stripped of his police powers, has been assigned to desk duty and not fired.</p><p>&quot;They had the opportunity to be a good example and a model across the country on how to improve police and community relations and they missed it,&quot; Acree said.</p><p>The Police Department said placing an officer on desk duty after a shooting is standard procedure and that it is prohibited from doing anything more during the investigations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-accused-teens-death-turns-himself-expected-be-charged-113910 Henry Dumas wrote about black people killed by cops. Then he was killed by a cop. http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/HenryDumas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&quot;A young black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station,&quot; reads an invitation by Toni Morrison for a posthumous book-launch party she threw for Dumas in 1974, six years after he died. &quot;A transit cop&quot; &mdash; who was white &mdash; &quot;shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read.&quot;</p><p>In the nearly 50 years since Henry Dumas was killed, not much more has come to light about what happened on the night of his death. No witnesses came forward to testify. Police records were lost in a bureaucratic shuffle. Harlem, where Dumas moved as a young man after growing up in rural Arkansas, had&nbsp;<a href="https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/disasters/riots-harlem_1964.html">erupted</a>&nbsp;in large-scale protests over the police killings of black and brown men several times before the writer was killed. But Dumas&#39; death hardly made the news. With so little information to draw from, it&#39;s as if the last pages of his life were torn out.</p><p>Dumas&#39; final scene echoed a theme he turned to again and again in his writing: violent confrontations between white men and black men. The work he left behind &mdash; short stories that range from hard realism to science fiction, an almost finished novel, volumes of poetry, and even a few accompaniments to the work of the mystical jazz legend Sun Ra &mdash; contains bitingly sharp depictions of racial tension in America that, in an almost unbelievably eerie way, speak to his own fate.</p><p>It is, of course, a fate that many black men and women had and would suffer under dubious circumstances &mdash; from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/harlem-riots-1943-echo-today-article-1.2216788">Robert Bandy</a>&nbsp;in 1935,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vice.com/read/race-riots-then-and-now-501">James Powell</a>&nbsp;in 1964, 10-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/nyregion/fired-at-queens-boy-fatal-1973-police-shot-still-reverberates.html">Clifford Glover</a>&nbsp;in 1973, and&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-09-12/news/9909120226_1_officers-lawyer-chicago-police-supt-joseph-roddy">LaTanya Haggerty</a>&nbsp;in 1999 to the more recent deaths of Michael Brown,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article15728675.html">Janisha Fonville</a>, Eric Garner,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/tanisha_anderson_was_restraine.html">Tanisha Anderson</a>&nbsp;and Freddie Gray, to name only a few.</p><p>&quot;His work and, in fact, his death, investigated and illustrated the ways in which black lives were at best peripheral to most white people &mdash; especially those running and policing the country,&quot; says James Smethurst, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor who has written extensively about 1960s and &#39;70s black writers.</p><p>Much of Dumas&#39; writing is considered to be a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/blackarts/historical.htm">Black Arts Movement</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the artistic manifestation of the Black Power struggle of the 1960s &mdash; an effort that Smethurst believes has a lot of resonance with the Black Lives Matter movement. While interest in Dumas has increased somewhat in recent years, he says, &quot;We still have a long way to go before he gets the sort of attention he deserves.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;The People Get Tired Of Dying&#39;</strong></p><p>One of the only known accounts of the night Dumas was killed comes from an obituary in&nbsp;<em>The Amsterdam News</em>,&nbsp;a black-owned newspaper in New York City that was founded in 1909. &quot;Police said Dumas and an unidentified man were scuffling in the subway when the officer walked up to them and attempted to stop the fracas,&quot; the obit reads. &quot;Police said Dumas, resentful at the interference, slashed the officer who shot and killed him.&quot;</p><p>Without the benefit of photographic evidence or firsthand witnesses to accompany the official police report, it is impossible to know the full story of what happened that night. It&#39;s also impossible to take in Dumas&#39; story without acknowledging that the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/samuel-dubose-cops-corroberating-unarmed-black-death">track record of believability</a>, when it comes to official accounts of black deaths at the hands of law enforcement,&nbsp;<a href="http://kxan.com/2014/08/22/family-of-woman-shot-killed-by-bastrop-county-sheriffs-deputy-seeks-damages/">isn&#39;t a clean one</a>.</p><p>Dumas wrote stories that echo cases like that of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was killed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30220700">seconds after</a>&nbsp;a police vehicle pulled up to where he was playing. &quot;When a Negro boy is shot and killed by policemen who do not check the situation before pulling their guns, the people get angry. It is a simple law of nature. ... The people get tired of dying,&quot; says one of Dumas&#39; characters in a short story called &quot;Riot or Revolt.&quot;</p><p>Published most recently in a 2003 collection of Dumas&#39; work called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Tree-Collected-Fiction-Movement/dp/1566891493">Echo Tree</a>, that story follows a young black man named Harold through the aftermath of violent public protest across Harlem:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The police barricades squatted on the sidewalk surrounding each place where mobs had struck.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Harold stood on the ramp in the middle of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street and surveyed the area which the night before had swarmed with police and angry Harlemites. A youth had been slain by the police in Brooklyn.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><div id="res437321514"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/national-bookstore-getty_custom-263741acaf9cdad5decfc88cff572694dce03c46-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 397px; width: 600px;" title="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970. (Jack Garofalo/Paris Match via Getty Images)" /></div></div><p>Those who have studied Dumas&#39; life and work believe the fictional LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore in that story was modeled on the real National Memorial African Bookstore, which stood a short walk from the 135th Street subway station where Dumas was killed. Owned by Lewis Michaux, a bookseller and black civil rights leader who encouraged his neighbors to read the books he stocked on African history, culture and philosophy even if they couldn&#39;t afford to buy them, the store&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/vaunda-micheaux-nelson/no-crystal-stair/">attracted</a>&nbsp;figures like Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Muhammad Ali.</p><p>Not unlike Dumas&#39; LeMoor, Michaux had a lot to say about black Americans&#39; struggle for power. &quot;We&#39;ve been neglected for three hundred years,&quot; <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">he</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;told</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;a<em> New Yorker</em>&nbsp;reporter in 1966</a>. &quot;As much as I hate to see what&#39;s going to happen, I believe that when the Negro knocks this time and nobody open the door, he&#39;s just going to knock it right down.&quot;</p><p>In &quot;Riot or Revolt,&quot; city officials stop in to speak to the owners of LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore, which had been left untouched by the looters who ravaged nearly every other store on the street. The officers want to know what made his shop so exceptional, but its owner, Micheval LeMoor, takes issue with the fact that city officials seemed to visit Harlem only when its frustrated residents reached a breaking point:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;You want to come visit here and get the notions about things being better, while right now some disrespectful guardian of the citizens beats a black man&#39;s head in. It doesn&#39;t matter if he&#39;s guilty or not anymore. Your honor, what you are facing is the full anger of a man who has been under attack for years. Unless you call off the attackers, be they merchants, disrespectful policemen, or the American majority, then the black minority is going to tear your house down.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>While &quot;Riot or Revolt&quot; may have been closely inspired by actual people if not actual events, other Dumas stories are imaginative forays into allegorical fables and otherworldly realms. Dumas&#39; vast range captivated many of his fellow writers, before and after his death. The poet and civil rights activist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/haki-madhubuti">Haki R. Madhubati</a>&nbsp;called him &quot;a poet of complex melodies,&quot; and Amiri Baraka called him an &quot;Afro-surreal expressionist&quot; who delivered &quot;a new blackness.&quot;</p><div id="res444198122"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Three of the published works of Dumas." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/28/dumas-books_custom-a24dcbd804e2efd2e6d60adc2472052f719f56b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 289px; width: 600px;" title="Three of the published works of Dumas. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I was impressed with his boldness of language and his boldness of breadth,&quot; Maya Angelou said in a 1988 interview published in an issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literature Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated entirely to Dumas&#39; work. &quot;Dumas continued to set us up for the loneliness, aloneness, and desperation, sometimes even desolation. But he never leaves us there. With him as our guide, we&#39;re always brought through to a better place.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p><strong>&#39;Part Invitation, Part Consolation&#39;</strong></p><p>By the time Dumas died, just a few of his poems and short stories had been published in small literary journals, geared toward a black audience. Writers and critics who knew him say he would have followed the uphill trajectory of his friends &mdash; including Robert Pinsky and Baraka &mdash; had he lived.</p><p>&quot;I think he would&#39;ve been a lot more famous in some respects if he had been able to live and write for 50 more years,&quot; says Smethurst, the University of Massachusetts professor. &quot;What if Toni Morrison had died after she wrote&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye&nbsp;</em>and only had a few stories?&quot;</p><p>In fact, Morrison played a role in inspiring what Smethurst calls the &quot;cult&quot; of Dumas. She first encountered Dumas in the form of a slim collection published posthumously by Southern Illinois University, where he taught an experimental program during the last year of his life. Then an editor at Random House and the author of&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Sula</em>,&nbsp;Morrison was struck by the circumstances of Dumas&#39; death and wanted to publish more of his writing.</p><p><img alt="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-teen_custom-90683d6bd20dbed852889b91760df7de33f10263-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 374px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></p><p>Random House had recently committed itself to publishing more minority writers. Through her position there, Morrison would shepherd through the work of several of the era&#39;s most notable black writers and activists, from Toni Cade Bambara and Gayle Jones to Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton.</p><div id="res437323230"><div><div><p>But she knew that generating attention for Dumas, a writer who was not only practically unknown but also deceased, would not be easy. To create hype for the collections she wanted to release &mdash; a book of poetry titled&nbsp;<em>Play Ebony Play Ivory</em>&nbsp;and a short story collection called&nbsp;Ark of Bones&nbsp;&mdash; Morrison organized a release event with a glamorous guest list comprising the most renowned black writers of the time.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;He was thirty-three years old when he was killed,&quot; Morrison wrote in the announcement for the party, a note that was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/the-radical-vision-of-toni-morrison.html&amp;assetType=nyt_now?&amp;assetType=nyt_now">described</a>&nbsp;as &quot;part invitation, part consolation&quot; in a recent&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;profile of Morrison. &quot;But in those thirty-three years he had completed work the quality and quantity of which are almost never achieved in several lifetimes.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;Creative Writing Slave&#39;</strong></p><p>In 1934, Dumas was born to Appliance Porter, a 19-year-old housekeeper in Sweet Home, Ark., a small town just outside Little Rock. His father, Henry Dumas Sr., or &quot;Big Henry&quot; as he was called, was largely absent from the life of his son, and his mother worked long hours. With his parents often away, Dumas spent much of his time in the fields where his aunts and uncles picked cotton, milked cows and shared stories.</p><p>While his cousins were busy playing sports, Dumas&#39; family recalled to Dumas biographer Jeffrey B. Leak, he preferred to spend his time examining insects or developing skits in which he played all the roles. When Dumas was 10, he and his family followed the course taken by thousands of other black families during the first part of the 20th century by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/books/review/Oshinsky-t.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">moving north</a>. Dumas brought with him to Harlem an intellectual curiosity that impressed his teachers at his integrated Manhattan high school.</p><div id="res437333283"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas (Ponton), on their wedding day." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-wedding_custom-4f5433a2c1f2996ce38b97100e8f654f52d11178-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left; height: 366px; width: 300px;" title="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas Ponton, on their wedding day. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>It may have been there that Dumas&#39; individual struggles became part of a more complex struggle: one in which black people searched for belonging in spaces where they were neither warmly welcomed nor explicitly barred. It&#39;s unclear when he began to take up writing seriously, but his move to a more racially diverse environment may have had something to do with it. Beneath his senior photo in the 1953 High School of Commerce yearbook someone &mdash; perhaps even Dumas himself &mdash; chose to inscribe this description of him: &quot;Creative writing slave.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>After a brief stint at the City University of New York that ended with what Leak notes might have been &quot;a crisis of confidence,&quot; Dumas joined the U.S. Air Force within a year of his high school graduation. Tours of Saudi Arabia and Mexico deepened his interest in sketching worlds that blurred black-and-white interpretations of race.</p><p>At the age of 21, Dumas returned to the U.S., in 1955, and married Loretta Ponton, a beautiful young secretary he had met by chance on a snowy evening on the street in New York just before enlisting. The daughter of a Baptist deacon, Loretta held strong Christian values and a traditional sense of familial responsibility. While Dumas shared her beliefs during the early years of their marriage, he would veer from them in coming years.</p><p>One of just a few black students at Rutgers University, where Dumas studied from 1958 to 1965 and where the couple&#39;s two sons were born, Dumas&#39; commitment to his writing, curiosities about the Nation of Islam, engagement with the civil rights movement, plus alcohol and drug use began to drive a wedge between him and Loretta.</p><p>He also had several affairs with white women. Lois Wright (nee Silber), with whom he had an affair that lasted three years, recalled in a letter to Dumas&#39; friend and fellow poet Jay Wright (whom she would later marry) that the two could only venture out to select spots in New York; the jazz clubs Dumas frequented weren&#39;t welcoming to Wright, and she resented Dumas&#39; friends for referring to her as &quot;the white chick.&quot;</p><p>&quot;For Dumas, crossing racial divides represented possibility and opportunity for both himself as a black man, but also from an imaginative standpoint,&quot; Leak, whose biography of Dumas,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Man-Life-Henry-Dumas/dp/0820328707">Visible Man</a>, came out last year, said in an interview. &quot;I think he thought that if you can cross boundaries in the social realm, then you can cross other boundaries in the literary realm. In both spaces, he found it to be even more complicated than he had anticipated.&quot;</p><p>Dumas explores those complexities in &quot;Will The Circle Be Unbroken?,&quot; a short story in which three white musicians and critics want to enter a black jazz club, arguing they should be let in because they know a lot about the genre. The black patrons finally agree to let them in, but warn that use of an ancient, rare horn may be too intense for their &quot;uninitiated&quot; ears. The music &quot;vibrated the freedom of freedom&quot; for its black listeners, but when the set ends, consternation rises when the three white people are found dead. They had been slain by music that wasn&#39;t meant for them.</p><div id="res443129714"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/24/dumas-orange_custom-0e395d04cd38d945d99b93cdc8a25b20aeaee5b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 600px;" title="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><p>For many, the story offers a look at some of the central questions of the civil rights movement: What did it mean to be black? How could black identity adapt to an integrated world? What racial boundaries should remain unbroken?</p></div></div><p>In an essay on the story for a 1988 issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literary Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated to Dumas&#39; work, an acquaintance of Dumas&#39; put it this way: &quot;Black people had a feeling of always being on stage for white folks.&quot; Dumas&#39; story on the jazz club held that the work of black artists should be guarded and protected, a notion that still resonates in a world where it&#39;s been said many times that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/rue-just-perfectly-defined-cultural-appropriation">black cultural products are valued while black lives are not</a>.</p><p>www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4On no one, perhaps, has Dumas made a greater impression than Eugene Redmond. An&nbsp;<a href="http://eugenebredmond.com/home/">accomplished poet</a>&nbsp;in his own right, Redmond has spent the past four decades editing and promoting the work of Dumas, even though the two men knew one another for only just under a year. Redmond met Dumas when the older writer came to teach English at an experimental college at the University of Southern Illinois in Redmond&#39;s hometown of East St. Louis in 1967. &quot;We bonded quickly,&quot; Redmond told me in a phone interview from the house of Loretta, Dumas&#39; widow.</p><p>The 77-year-old has served for decades as the literary executor of Dumas&#39; estate and was staying with Loretta for an annual commemoration of Dumas&#39; life and work that he helps organize every year on the anniversary of the shooting. Bringing together Dumas&#39; friends and family over poetry readings and jazz performances, Redmond, a Pushcart Prize recipient and the author of 25 books of poetry, has carried the torch for Dumas alongside his own teaching and writing career.</p><p>&quot;Every time I stepped into a classroom after I met him, I had a turntable,&quot; said Redmond, who said he picked up on Dumas&#39; tradition of playing music 15 minutes before each of his classes began. &quot;Every class that I taught, I published the students in a spiral-bound or saddle-stitched booklet. I got that from him.&quot; Redmond fondly recalls eating raw honey and listening to jazz with Dumas, to whom he attributes his love of some of the era&#39;s greatest musicians, from Miles Davis to John Coltrane. &quot;At the time,&quot; Redmond said, &quot;he seemed to be at the farthest most forward point of what black expression, black culture, and black people were all about.&quot;</p><p>In his day-to-day life, Dumas insisted on making space for himself &mdash; and forcing others to acknowledge his right to exist. &quot;He would even walk around East St. Louis and other places, and ask, &#39;Do you see me? Feel my arm. I&#39;m here, ain&#39;t I?&#39;&quot; said Leak, who conducted many interviews with those close to Dumas for his book. &quot;His point was: We&#39;re not invisible. The idea is a direct corollary to Black Lives Matter, the idea that flesh and blood do matter, and we&#39;re going to insist on being seen and being heard.&quot;</p><p>Redmond hopes the Black Lives Matter movement will help introduce Dumas to a whole new audience and help bolster the foundation that the movement rests upon. &quot;You gotta have someplace to come from before you know where you&#39;re going,&quot; he says.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/10/01/433229181/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-by-cops-then-he-was-killed-by-a-cop"><em>via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143 Detective’s recommended firing owes to public pressure, his attorney says http://www.wbez.org/detective%E2%80%99s-recommended-firing-owes-public-pressure-his-attorney-says-112970 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CT Dante Servin trial 042005 03 smaller.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-17/ipra-recommends-dante-servin-be-fired-112968" target="_blank">A Chicago agency&rsquo;s recommendation</a> to fire a detective who fatally shot an unarmed African-American woman stems from &ldquo;public pressure,&rdquo; not the evidence, his lawyer says.</p><p dir="ltr">Independent Police Review Authority officials arrived at the recommendation &ldquo;because they&rsquo;re afraid of being in the gun sights&rdquo; of the woman&rsquo;s family and the media, according to Darren O&rsquo;Brien, an attorney for Det. Dante Servin.</p><p dir="ltr">The shooting took place in 2012 near the detective&rsquo;s home on the city&rsquo;s West Side. Servin, driving his car off duty, confronted a group walking from an outdoor party. Then, the detective said, a man in the group seemed to point a gun at him.</p><p dir="ltr">Servin shot several rounds over his shoulder. One hit the hand of the man, Antonio Cross. Another hit the head of a bystander named Rekia Boyd, 22, who died from the injury.</p><p dir="ltr">Prosecutors said Cross had no gun, just a cell phone. They charged the detective with felonies including involuntary manslaughter</p><p dir="ltr">During the trial this April, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/after-detective%E2%80%99s-acquittal-fatal-shooting-prosecutors-face-criticism-111907" target="_blank">abruptly acquitted Servin of all charges</a>. Porter announced the verdict even before the defense presented most of its witnesses. He said prosecutors had failed to prove that the detective acted recklessly and that a more fitting charge would have been murder &mdash; claims disputed by State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez.</p><p dir="ltr">The verdict sparked protests led by Boyd&rsquo;s family. The detective, meanwhile, still faced administrative charges.</p><p dir="ltr">A Wednesday statement from IPRA Chief Administrator Scott M. Ando says his agency is recommending the dismissal based on a thorough investigation. The detective, according to the statement, violated police policies including &ldquo;discharging a firearm into a crowd.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Of some 400 civilian shootings by police that IPRA has investigated since its 2007 creation, the one that killed Boyd is only the second the agency has found to be unjustified.</p><p>O&rsquo;Brien, the detective&rsquo;s attorney, told WBEZ that IPRA&rsquo;s recommendation was &ldquo;based on erroneous conclusions.&rdquo; Among them, O&rsquo;Brien said, &ldquo;there&rsquo;s never been any evidence that [Servin] ever fired into a crowd.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">O&rsquo;Brien insisted that Cross was apart from Boyd. He said the detective was shooting at him alone and feared for his life. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a terrible tragedy that Rekia Boyd was killed but, essentially, Dante Servin is being fired for defending himself,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Brien said.</p><p dir="ltr">The dismissal recommendation went to police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who has 90 days to decide whether to make the same recommendation to the city&rsquo;s nine-member Police Board, which would hold a trial-like public hearing before making the city&rsquo;s final decision behind closed doors.</p><p dir="ltr">McCarthy&rsquo;s decision will receive close scrutiny. After the criminal case, he said Servin should never have been charged.</p><p dir="ltr">A statement Wednesday from McCarthy spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, &ldquo;We take the use of force by our officers, and the recommendations of IPRA, extremely seriously and we will carefully review the matter.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Martinez Sutton, a brother of Boyd, predicts that McCarthy will oppose the dismissal recommendation. &ldquo;In the family&rsquo;s eyes, it seems like he said my sister&rsquo;s death is a justified death,&rdquo; Sutton said Thursday on WBEZ. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s going around, saying that &mdash; with no remorse for the family.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The city settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Boyd&rsquo;s family for $4.5 million in 2013.</p><div><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/detective%E2%80%99s-recommended-firing-owes-public-pressure-his-attorney-says-112970 Fired investigator: Policy change could help cover up police misconduct http://www.wbez.org/news/fired-investigator-policy-change-could-help-cover-police-misconduct-112614 <p><p>I spent months trying to reach Lorenzo Davis, an investigator at the Independent Police Review Authority, the Chicago agency that looks into shootings by officers and police-brutality complaints. I had heard that Davis, a former police commander for the city, was clashing with his bosses, the folks in charge of the agency.<br /><br />When Davis finally called me back last month, IPRA had fired him. He had something big to tell me, and there was written evidence.<br /><br />The bosses, according to his final performance evaluation, had ordered him to change findings in at least a dozen cases, all shootings or alleged excessive-force incidents.</p><p>His findings were that the officers had violated laws or police department rules, he said. The bosses included Scott M. Ando, promoted to be chief administrator by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last year.<br /><br />Davis also wanted to tell me about IPRA&rsquo;s internal procedure for handling disagreements, between the investigator and superiors, about a case&rsquo;s findings.<br /><br />For years, the procedure was for the investigator to attend a meeting with the higher-ups. &ldquo;You would discuss the case and come to some sort of consensus,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;But if you did not agree or refused to change your findings, there would be what we call an internal non-concurrence.&rdquo;<br /><br />The &ldquo;non-concurrence&rdquo; meant a boss was overturning the findings with a written explanation. That memo &mdash; an actual sheet of paper &mdash; would go on top of the case file. And the investigator&rsquo;s findings would stay in the file for all to see.<br /><br />&ldquo;This year,&rdquo; Davis said, &ldquo;Ando decided that he did not want to write a non-concurrence.&rdquo;<br /><br />The new policy, disseminated by Ando in March, says investigators &ldquo;do not have the right to refuse to make changes as directed by a superior. Anyone who refuses . . . will be considered insubordinate and may be subject to discipline.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-08-10%20at%2011.51.32%20PM.png" style="height: 309px; width: 620px;" title="Screencap of an email informing IPRA staff of the March policy change." /></div><p><br />The policy&rsquo;s purpose was to eliminate certain paper trails, Davis said. &ldquo;There would not be a record of what the findings were, initially, before they were changed.&rdquo;<br /><br />IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator, of course, has always made final decisions about the agency&rsquo;s findings.</p><p>But Davis pointed out that some of these cases end up in court, which can be problematic. &ldquo;Often times, investigators and supervisors are called to do either depositions or actually appear in court to testify about a finding that they were forced to make [and] did not initially make and that they do not believe in.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis said his bosses ordered him to change findings in six shooting cases, three of them fatal.<br /><br />Those are among nearly 400 shootings by officers that IPRA has investigated since its 2007 creation. The agency has found that just one, an off-duty incident, was unjustified.<br /><br />We asked IPRA to explain how it handles internal disagreements but did not get answers. We kept asking for the information and went ahead with our story, which broke the news of Davis&rsquo;s termination and led to a protest at the agency&rsquo;s headquarters three days later.<br /><br />&ldquo;The firing of Lorenzo Davis is yet another example of how IPRA continues to cover up crimes by officers of the Chicago Police Department,&rdquo; a protest leader said.</p><div class="image-insert-image">Later that day, IPRA delivered a written statement from Ando that said some of Davis&rsquo;s findings left out important evidence. The statement also included this line: &ldquo;No one at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings.&rdquo;</div><p>That left us scratching our heads. We had already reported about Davis&rsquo;s final performance evaluation, which focused on his resistance to &ldquo;management directing him to change improper findings.&rdquo; We had seen the policy Ando had sent out, which threatened discipline for any investigator who refused to change a finding.<br /><br />Why would an agency&rsquo;s chief ban something he says never happens?<br /><br />We did everything we could to get an answer from the city. We called IPRA and Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s office. We sent written questions to both. We asked to interview Ando.<br /><br />Almost a week later, IPRA sent us what it called a &ldquo;revised&rdquo; statement from Ando. It was the same as the other one &mdash; except it was missing the part about the agency never ordering investigators to change their findings.<br /><br />That left us wondering whether IPRA ought to be changing an investigator&rsquo;s findings in the first place.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ando8cropsmall.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Scott M. Ando, IPRA’s chief administrator. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Ando reports directly to Emanuel so we took the question to one of the mayor&rsquo;s press conferences.<br /><br />Emanuel listened to the question but did not specifically answer it. Instead he referred to a study he had commissioned. He called the study, completed last December, &ldquo;a total review of both IPRA, the Police Board, any kind of the oversight of police actions and misconduct.&rdquo;<br /><br />So we went to the study&rsquo;s main author, Ron Safer, a former top official of the U.S. attorney&rsquo;s office in Chicago.<br /><br />We asked again whether IPRA should be directing investigators to change their findings or whether it should stick to the practice in which a boss who disagrees with an investigator writes up an explanation for overturning the findings and leaves them in the file.</p><p>Safer pointed out that his study did not look at these questions. But he shared what he called his &ldquo;uninformed&rdquo; view: &ldquo;Often these are investigations where there are shades of gray and, always, where there are two sides to the story. The ultimate conclusion can be a matter of honest disagreement.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good idea to have the investigators&rsquo; original thoughts &mdash; at least factual findings &mdash; in the record because the investigator is the closest person to the facts,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Safer, again, is the expert the mayor led us to.<br /><br />And he is not the only one with that view. We found police-accountability agencies in other big cities that handle their internal disagreements that way. The Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s Internal Affairs Division does too.<br /><br />At IPRA, nevertheless, an investigator&rsquo;s findings will not stay in the record unless the agency&rsquo;s leaders want them to.<br /><br />That brings us back to Lorenzo Davis, the investigator IPRA fired after he did not go along with the bosses. &ldquo;Usually what they want said is [a finding] that the officer had a reasonable fear for his life and, therefore, the officer used deadly force,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />In some of his shooting cases, Davis insists, deadly force was not necessary.</p><p>What worries him now is not just that those findings will be overturned but that they will be erased &mdash; that there will be no sign they ever existed.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian contributed. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 23:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fired-investigator-policy-change-could-help-cover-police-misconduct-112614 Chicago agency chief denies pressuring investigators to change findings on police shootings http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Ando3crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated Friday, July 24, to include comments from the mayor&rsquo;s office and allegations from a second former Chicago investigator.</em></p><p>The chief administrator of the Chicago agency that looks into shootings by police denies that it has asked investigators to change their findings.</p><p>An Independent Police Review Authority official on Thursday hand-delivered a written statement challenging allegations brought by a supervising investigator the agency fired this month.</p><p>As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423">WBEZ first reported</a>, Lorenzo Davis was terminated July 9 after a performance evaluation accused him of anti-police bias and called him &ldquo;the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,&rdquo; as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.</p><p>Davis says the disputed cases included six shootings by officers that he had found were unjustified.</p><p>In the statement, IPRA Chief Administrator Scott M. Ando says the agency&rsquo;s management has the final word on whether findings are accurate and whether they meet the burden of proof. The statement added, however, that &ldquo;no one at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;In a very small number of cases, when during the course of a supervisory review it is found that evidence has been excluded,&rdquo; the statement said, &ldquo;a supervisor will request that the investigator review and include all available evidence in their findings.&rdquo;</p><p>That, the statement says, is what happened with Davis. &ldquo;A few cases he worked on were found to be incomplete by all three levels of management above him,&rdquo; the statement says. The findings &ldquo;did not include all available evidence and in some cases were built on assumptions.&rdquo;</p><p>Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency, so far has not agreed to speak with WBEZ about Davis&rsquo;s termination, the shootings or the agency&rsquo;s process for arriving at its findings.</p><p>A written statement late Thursday from an Emanuel spokesman calls the termination an &ldquo;internal matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The city does not tolerate biased investigations,&rdquo; the statement said. &ldquo;We have confidence in IPRA and the important role they play as an independent, civilian-led review agency.&rdquo;</p><p>A second former top IPRA investigator, meanwhile, made allegations about the agency late Thursday. Anthony Finnell says he left IPRA last year because officers with multiple excessive-force complaints remained on duty.</p><p>&ldquo;We could not get the state&rsquo;s attorney to file charges, we could not get the police department to discipline them, we could not even get our agency to support, at times, the findings against certain officers,&rdquo; Finnell <a href="https://twitter.com/allinwithchris/status/624392400450949120">said on MSNBC</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;For me, as a police officer, that was extremely frustrating,&rdquo; said Finnell, who worked for 23 years as an Indianapolis cop, finishing there as a sergeant.</p><p>At IPRA, he worked for 15 months as a supervising investigator. He moved last year to head an agency that investigates police wrongdoing in Oakland, California.</p></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-agency-chief-denies-pressuring-investigators-change-findings-police-shootings-112467 'A gun that could never have been fired' http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/photo 4-1.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Calvin Cross was two blocks from his home on a spring night in 2011. He had just returned from Job Corps, where he earned a certificate for brick laying; and had recently learned that his longtime girlfriend was pregnant. After finishing dinner at home, where he lived with his mom and two older sisters, Cross went out with a friend Ryan Cornell. Both men were 19 years old&mdash;and black&mdash;walking in the West Pullman neighborhood.</p><p>Just about a month later, Cross&rsquo; girlfriend Tunoka Jett would give birth to a baby boy: A son Cross would never meet.</p><p>Near the corner of 124th and Wallace streets, a Chicago police car with three on-duty officers inside pulled up next to the teens. The police officers would later say they were responding to reports of gunshots in the area&mdash;and that Cross was holding his waistband, as if he had a gun.</p><p>The chronology of events after the car pulled up is in dispute&mdash;and will never be settled&mdash;but new light has been shed on the case by a <a href="http://t.co/hybHJukcUj" target="_blank">recently released report</a> from the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct.</p><p>What is known is that, at some point, the officers got out of the car, Cross started running&mdash;and the three cops chased him, firing 45 shots and hitting Cross five times.</p><p>According to the Cook County Medical Examiner&rsquo;s report, a bullet to Cross&rsquo; face was the shot that ultimately killed him.</p><p>&ldquo;My client runs, Ryan Cornell stays put. The three officers chase my client, Ryan Cornell goes back to my client&rsquo;s home and tells his mom they&rsquo;re shooting at Calvin,&rdquo; Cross family attorney Tony Thedford said of that night.</p><p>And Cross&rsquo; mom, Dana, said she heard the gunshots from her home.</p><p>Thedford said Calvin Cross&rsquo; fatal decision to run from the police, rather than stay put like Cornell, was the result of Cross&rsquo; relative inexperience dealing with police.</p><p>The 19-year-old had never been arrested; his mom described her youngest child as a &ldquo;homebody.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was an easygoing person, well liked&hellip;he was in the men&rsquo;s choir at our church,&rdquo; Dana Cross said. &ldquo;He didn&rsquo;t hang out&hellip;he liked to stay at home [and] play games.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department referred questions about the shooting to the city&rsquo;s law department; and an attorney for the three cops involved declined a request to interview the officers. So this account is based on federal court filings, testimony by a city attorney, a report from the Independent Police Review Authority, Cross&rsquo; mother and her family&rsquo;s attorneys.</p><p>The officers involved said while Cross was running, he opened fire, forcing them to shoot back.</p><p>The Independent Police Review Authority&mdash;the agency charged with investigating officer-involved shootings&mdash;ruled the shooting justified; but the final report, released Friday, notes that the weapon recovered was never fired, directly contradicting the officers&rsquo; version of events.</p><p>&ldquo;The detectives&rsquo; Supplementary Report indicates that, although the involved officers all reported that Subject 1 fired at them, the recovered revolver was fully-loaded,&rdquo; the IPRA report reads, and goes on to say, that &ldquo;a gunshot residue examination on [Cross] was negative.&rdquo;</p><p>And the Illinois State Police Crime Lab ruled that the gun recovered at the scene was &ldquo;inoperable.&rdquo;</p><p>Also, family attorney Torreya Hamilton said there were no fingerprints on the gun.<br /><br />&ldquo;Why, when the police department learned that these police officers were fired at with a gun that was impossible to be fired, why weren&rsquo;t they looked at for criminal charges?&rdquo; Hamilton asked. &ldquo;Unless you have a video, apparently&hellip;you&rsquo;re not going to be looked at for criminal charges if you&rsquo;re a police officer. And these police officers are still out on the street. They&rsquo;re still telling the story about being shot at with a gun that could never have been fired at them.&rdquo;</p><p>And Thedford says the unusable weapon found by police was hundreds of feet away from the crime scene, and out of Cross&rsquo; path.</p><p>&ldquo;Where he was found dead was at a fence. Our belief is that he was trying to get past that fence so he could keep running,&rdquo; Thedford said. &ldquo;We believe, and will always believe, that our client ran because he was afraid. He saw this weapon and he ran.&rdquo;</p><p>On May 31, 2012, exactly one year after Cross&rsquo; death, his family filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officers involved. And on Wednesday, the Chicago City Council approved a $2 million payout to settle the case.</p><p>Thedford said Cross&rsquo; son, now 3 years old, was the impetus for settling a case they had long expected would go to trial.</p><p>And after taking out attorneys fees, all of the remaining settlement will go to the child - named Calvin, after his father - in monthly payments to a trust until he turns 30.</p><p>&ldquo;At least I know he&rsquo;ll be taken care of,&rdquo; his grandmother said. &ldquo;But if I could give all that money back so he can have his daddy back, that&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;d do.&rdquo;</p><p>Cross said she is too angry to talk about the fact that the shooting was ruled justified and the officers remain on the force. She&rsquo;s also haunted by the lack of attention paid to her son&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;No police officer ever came to talk to me. No news people ever came to talk to me. Nobody. It&rsquo;s like my son was shot and killed and it&rsquo;s just that&rsquo;s it, that&rsquo;s all,&rdquo; Cross said.</p><p>Thedford thinks that silence is because of who Calvin was: A 19-year-old black man on the South Side of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;Is there an expectation that he&rsquo;s a part of some faceless, nameless horde that they always get shot, they&rsquo;re always up to something, there&rsquo;s always some assumption that he must have been up to no good? I think the reason that it was immediately believed that whatever version the police officers gave was correct is because he fit the mold,&rdquo; Thedford said.</p><p>On the same day the city approved the Cross settlement, the city council also agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit over the 2010 death of Joshua Madison. Taking these most recent settlements into account, the city has paid out a total of $8 million so far this year for Chicago police shootings.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ Producer/Reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 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