By John Dempsey, WLS News
(CHICAGO) The crisis involving police shootings intensified for Mayor Rahm Emanuel over the weekend as police shot and killed an unarmed 55 year old grandmother and mother of five, on the West Side.
Family members say 55 year old Bettie Jones was shot to death in the home in the 47 hundred block of West Erie early Saturday morning. Jones lived in the first floor apartment of a two flat and police responded to the residence after a man in the upstairs apartment called police to say his 19 year old son, Quintonio LeGrier, was attacking him with a baseball bat. When police arrived, Jones opened the door of the building to let them in, and witnesses say LeGrier then came charging down the stairs behind her, from the upstairs apartment, wielding the bat. When police shot and killed him, the witnesses say Jones was hit in the crossfire and died.
LeGrier was a student at Northern Illinois University. His family said he suffered from mental illness.
It’s the latest embarrassment for Emanuel who has faced a constant stream of criticism since the release of a video last month showing police shooting and killing 17 year old LaQuan McDonald in October of 2014.
Emanuel remains out of the country on a vacation with his family in Cuba, but he issued a statement saying, “There are serious questions about yesterday’s shootings that must be answered in full by the Independent Police Review Authority’s investigation. While their investigation is underway, we must also make real changes within our police department today and it is clear changes are needed to how officers respond to mental health crises.
This afternoon I directed the new Acting Chief Administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority and the Interim Superintendent of Police to meet with each other as soon as possible to review the Crisis Intervention Team training, around how officers respond to mental health crisis calls. I have asked that they determine the deficiencies in the current training, and determine what steps can be taken immediately to address them”.
Emanuel’s police department also departed from past practices and immediately apologized for Jones shooting. The department issued a statement saying, “The 55 year old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed. The department extends it’s deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends”.
In another policy change, the police department also placed the officer or officers involved on desk duty for 30 days, and says that will be the standard protocol going forward for all police-involved shootings. In the past, officers involved in shootings were only on desk duty for three days.
Also, Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo told “The Big John Howell Show” on WLS, that while he has sympathy for Jones and her family, LeGrier is to blame for what happened, saying “You know the actions on behalf of the individual with the baseball bat caused that situation to occur. That’s where the responsibilities lie. What happens after that person’s behavior forces the policeman into that situation”.
Angelo also agreed that it’s a good idea for more officers to be equipped with and trained in the use of tasers, saying, “Even if they outfitted the entire department with tasers, only one in five could actually utilize them. I think that’s something that’s going to change. I think that you’re going to see, I don’t know if it’s going to be mandatory, but you’ll see another round of training certification for tasers to come, and I think you’ll see more purchases of those devices”.
@ 2015 WLS NEWS