Discussion of police brutality exploded in recent weeks following the tragic murder of Ferguson, MO teen Mike Brown. Police shootings don’t usually receive as much coverage. But Brown’s death triggered much debate on law enforcements’ use of deadly force on citizens, particularly people of color.
Ferguson is not an isolated event. Police target African Americans more often than whites, especially in Chicago.
Tamara Ball is still coming to terms with the fatal shooting of her 16-year-old son Warren Robinson by Chicago Police. Ball was on her way to a concert in Jefferson City with a friend when she received heart-wrenching news of her son’s death.
“I got the call,” Ball said. “At first I wasn’t going to answer the phone. But they kept calling and calling and calling. My niece texted me, asking me, ‘Was it true? Is Warren dead?’ I thought it was some kind of sick joke, so I didn’t respond to them.”
She eventually phoned her niece who broke the news to her. She later called her sister who confirmed her son was deceased.
Robinson, known to friends as Cutthroat Tunchie, was gunned down in a hail of bullets Saturday, July 5 after police alleged he pointed a gun at them.
Robinson’s death came after he allegedly hid under a car following a foot chase with police. Police allege Robinson didn’t drop his weapon upon getting out from under the car.
Robinson’s shooting death sparked a tense standoff between Gresham residents and police.
Robinson’s body was left at the scene for hours. Brown’s body, too, was left in the streets for hours before Ferguson police removed him.
“From my understanding, my son’s body was out there for hours,” Ball said. “I got the call between seven and eight. As I was trying to get to Chicago, it was midnight when they said they were just now getting my son’s body. I was over 300 miles away from Chicago in Jefferson.”
Ball says the police valued her son’s life less than “someone important.”
“I really don’t think they care,” she said. “The difference is if it was a police officer, attorney, someone important, their bodies would be up within 15, 20 minutes. If it’s an individual, they don’t care about him. If they can leave them out there, they would leave them out there.
“But because they gotta cover up what they did, they gon leave em out there for as long as they can,” she added.
Many police shootings have sparked cries of racism.
USA Today learned of racial disparities in police shootings and found a white police officer was involved in the killing of a black person nearly two times a week in the United States from 2005 to 2012.
The findings reportedly show 18 percent of blacks killed during those seven years were under age 21, compared to 8.7 percent of whites. This figures means blacks in this age demographic are 50 percent more likely to be killed by police than whites.
(Source: USA Today)
(Source: USA Today)
Eric Garner’s death occurred weeks prior to Brown’s death and sparked nationwide controversy. Garner died after he was confronted by police for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
“I’m minding my business, why don’t you leave me alone,” Garner told officers.
Officers swarmed Garner after he failed to comply with their orders. Garner can be heard telling officers he couldn’t breathe.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an 8-year veteran, was stripped of his badge and gun and placed on “modified assignment” for applying the chokehold, a violation of NYPD police procedure.
Garner’s death was rule a homicide.
South Carolina man Levar Edward Jones was nearly killed by state trooper Lace Cpl. Sean Groubert Wednesday, Sept. 4 at a Circle K over an alleged seatbelt violation.
Jones, 35, was shot after complying with Groubert’s order to present his license. He suffered a gunshot wound to the hip.
Groubert has since been fired and arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. His charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
John Crawford III, 22, was fatally shot Aug. 5 inside a Walmart in Beavercreek, OH, for holding an unloaded air rifle. A police report stated Crawford was killed after ignoring police orders to drop the item.
But new footage reveals an entirely different scene. Crawford was standing in an aisle while talking on his cell phone with the air rifle in his right hand.
Officers soon emerged and fired several shots at Crawford killing him.
An Ohio grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in Crawford’s death stating they were justified in their actions.
It was store customer Ronald Ritchie’s 911 call that led to Crawford’s death. Ritchie accused Crawford of pointing the gun at patrons, including two children.
Angela Williams, the mother of the children whom Ritchie claimed were under threat, died after suffering a heart attack from the panic that ensued following the shooting.
The family of Crawford is calling for Ritchie’s arrest for facilitating the deadly chain of events that occurred.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday, Sept. 24 it would conduct an independent civil rights review into Crawford’s death after the grand jury’s decision to not indict the officers.
Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) release a statement on the matter:
“After talking with the Attorney General and watching the video myself, I agree with his decision that a review by the U.S. Department of Justice is appropriate. This is a tragedy for the Crawford family and I share the concern of many in the community that this matter must be handled with the utmost seriousness and respect. I’ve consulted with local leaders, including leaders in the African American community, and I applaud the example they have set of calm, restraint and patience.”
Ball says the fatal shooting of her son was a “personal kill.”
“That was personal,” she said. “It was deliberate. You took him out as if he was a terrorist. When you taking out a terrorist, a terrorist is personal because if I don’t get rid of this terrorist, this terrorist finna kill thousands of people so I need to take him out quickly. That’s how I feel like they did that to my son. They personally took him out as if he was a common hardcore criminal like he was a straight killer. He was nothing but 16 years old.”
Ball said there were multiple officers at the scene and the use of deadly force wasn’t necessary.
“That’s how many times you would shoot a person if they took one of your own or if they actually wounded one of your guys. If he didn’t wound one of your guys, he shouldn’t have been shot that many times. You are trained to wound a person.”
Ball alleges a witness of the incident was running to get her children or grandchildren when she saw Robinson with his hands in the air.
“That means there’s no pistol in his hand,” she said. “They said ‘Put the gun down, put the gun down. Shoot him.’ They said the lady cop, which is the white cop, shot him in his head. He begged for his life: ‘Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.’”
Another witness, Ball said, is a “little boy” who recalled Robinson continuing to be shot as he laid motionless on the ground.
“He was already dead and they said they were still shooting my son,” Ball said. “If you don’t call that personal, I don’t know what you call it.”
Ball hopes to connect with Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden and “get something going.”
Ball said there is currently an investigation in her son’s shooting and that she has retained a lawyer.
The Independent Police Review Authority investigates all police-involved shootings. It can take up to 18 months before IPRA renders a decision on whether Robinson’s fatal shooting was justified.
The IPRA is currently investigating a number of police-related shooting deaths including the case of Marlon Horton.
Horton, 28, was fatally shot Sept. 7, 2013 by an off-duty officer. Footage surfaced showing the deadly confrontation between Horton and two security officers.
The off-duty police officer, identified as Kenneth Walker, was working as a security guard in a Near West Side Chicago Housing Authority building when he confronted Walker. Horton was at the building attempting to pick up his girlfriend when he was turned away by Horton and a female security guard.
Horton urinated on the officer’s truck upon leaving the building resulting in another confrontation with the guards. Footage shows the two guards attacking Horton before gunning him down.
The family of Horton has since filed a lawsuit against the city.
FOX 32 News Chicago
Ball hopes for support in securing justice for her son and ending police brutality.
“I didn’t get the proper help that I need,” she said. “I want justice served for my son.”
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