Chicago protesters hold vigil for police victims
A large group of people has attended a vigil for two African-Americans who were recently shot dead by Chicago police.
Quintonio LeGrier, 19, a college student who had been experiencing mental health issues, and his neighbor 55-year-old Betty Jones were killed by police officers responding to a call about domestic disturbance on Saturday.
Police have acknowledged that Jones, mother of five, was killed by accident.
“Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon which fatally wounded two individuals,” according to a statement from Chicago police. “The 55-year-old female victim was accidentally struck and tragically killed. The department extends its deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends.”
Dozens of people attended the Sunday vigil outside the shooting scene at an apartment in the city’s West Garfield Park neighborhood.
Jones was known as a community activist who spent her time speaking out against issues such as police brutality that affected black communities inside the US, according to Washington Post.
The memorial was addressed by community leaders, including famous rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson. Representative Danny Davis also attended the vigil.
“The tragic fact is this is part of a practice, a pattern, of excessive force and unnecessary firing of guns,” Jackson said.
“For her to fall victim to the very thing she fought against — it is disgusting,” Nikia Glover, Jones’s cousin, told the Post.
The vigil turned into yet another protest against police brutality in the city with several people holding signs that read, “Stop Killing Us.”
Chicago has already been the scene of numerous protests over the video-taped police killing of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager fatally shot 16 times by a white cop on the street.
Strong public reaction to the latest shootings prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to issue an official apology and urge the Chicago Police Department and the main police oversight agency to review crisis intervention training.
The victims’ families said they will file a lawsuit against the police officers involved in the incident.