by Jared Keller, Pacific Standard, 12/29/15
Is there hope for next year?
Quintonio LeGrier was murdered on Saturday.
The 19-year-old engineering student was shot and killed by Chicago police officers, according to ABC 7 Chicago, after cops responded to a call around 4:30 a.m from LeGrier’s father saying his son was “acting crazy” and waving a baseball bat. LeGrier wasn’t the responding officers’ only victim; Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old anti-violence activist, mother of five, and LeGreir’s downstairs neighbor, was caught in the crossfire and killed. “An innocent lady got shot as well, because the police were trigger happy,” LeGrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told reporters. “I went to the hospital. My son has seven bullet holes in him.” Amid the subsequent public outrage, beleaguered Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has quickly called for police reform.
This is by now a tragically familiar story. As of December 24, police officers have fatally shot 965 Americans this year, according to a Washington Post tally. Of those 965, only 564 were armed with guns; about 90 were totally unarmed. While the Post found that white police officers shooting unarmed black men—incidents that have sparked ongoing protests in cities across the United States—represented fewer than four percent of total fatal police shootings in 2015, “Race remains the most volatile flash point in any accounting of police shootings,” the Post authors write. “Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year.”…
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