A Chicago woman who was active in her community protesting violence, including that by the police, has now become the subject of protest herself — after “accidentally” being shot and killed by Chicago police the day after Christmas.
Bettie Jones, 55, a mother of five, and her neighbor Quintonio LeGrier, 19, a college student, were both shot and killed by police when LeGrier’s father called police over his son being “agitated and wielding a baseball bat.” He then called Jones to ask her if she could buzz the police into the building, as the residences shared the same entrance.
“For her to fall victim to the very thing she fought against — it’s disgusting,” Jones’s cousin, Nikia Glover, 39, told The Washington Post.
When police arrived, LeGrier went to the doorway where the officers were, and it is believed that Jones was following behind him.
Chicago police said in a brief and vague statement that they “were confronted by a combative subject” and it resulted in “the discharging of the officer’s weapon.” It does not seem as though LeGrier was armed. His family has claimed that he was shot in his buttocks, implying that he was not even facing the officers when they shot and killed him and Jones.
“Why do you have to shoot first and ask questions later?” Jones’ friend Jacqueline Walker asked Sunday during a news conference outside the home where the fatal shooting occurred.
Janet Cooksey, LaGrier’s mother also spoke out during the press conference, stating: “The police are supposed to service and protect us, yet they take the lives. God is with me, because I don’t know how I am standing here before you today. No mom should have to bury her child.”
Cooksey described her son as a good kid and an honor student. He was home on break from Northern Illinois University, where he was majoring in electrical engineering technology.
Jones was an active member of Chicago’s Action Now Organization, who also issued a statement regarding her shooting, and posted a link for a GoFundMe account to help her family with funeral expenses.
“Chicago police murdered one of our own early this morning. Bettie Jones was attempting to let police into her building to respond to a call when they shot her through the door,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “The family needs our help. Please consider helping them financially in this dire time.”
The incident was just one of three officer-involved shootings that occurred in Chicago in less than 12 hours.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been under fire over the string of bodies being left by his police department, and activists are determined to force him to resign.
“I have asked that they determine the deficiencies in the current training, and determine what steps can be taken immediately to address them,” Emanuel told NBC News. “We will continue to ask tough questions of the police department, of the investigative agencies, and of ourselves, to drive the reforms the people of Chicago deserve and expect.”
The officers involved have been placed on a 30-day “administrative leave,” aka a paid vacation, while “training and fitness for duty requirements can be conducted,” said a statement from the department.
Featured image via Twitter