Furor Over Police Shootings In Chicago Continues

Dec 28, 2015
Originally published on December 28, 2015 7:57 pm
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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is cutting short his vacation in Cuba and returning home tomorrow, and this move comes after Chicago police shot and killed a student and a grandmother over the weekend. Both victims were black. Now, in a written statement released today, Emanuel announced additional reforms for the police department. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on the mayor's proposed changes.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Under the reforms, any police officer involved in a shooting would be off the street for 30 days. Before going back on, they'd have to meet the city's training and fitness for duty for duty requirements. The mayor is also calling for a complete review and change in how Chicago police handle extremely tense situations. The city's interim police superintendent will conduct the review along with Sharon Fairley, the acting head of Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority.

SHARON FAIRLEY: There, a lot of police forces have been struggling with how to handle their use of force policies and how to update them in the current climate in which we all operate.

CORLEY: The U.S. Justice Department is already investigating the Chicago Police Department. A shooting this weekend brought further scrutiny. Early Saturday morning, police killed 19-year-old college student Quintonio LeGrier after responding to a 911 call from his father about a domestic altercation. Their downstairs neighbor, 55-year-old will Betty Jones, was shot, too, in what police call a tragic accident. Yesterday, Attorney Sam Adam Jr., who represents her family, says it means police definitely need more training about how to work in communities.

SAM ADAM JR.: Obviously something is missing. Obviously something is wrong when a 55-year-old grandmother opens the door to let police in, and she's the one who ends up dead. Now, that's a problem.

FAIRLEY: I completely understand the level of frustration that people feel.

CORLEY: Again, Sharon Fairley.

FAIRLEY: I feel it, too. I'm a Chicagoan. I'm a mother. I completely relate to that. And, you know - and I'm completely motivated by that.

CORLEY: Fairley says she wants to make sure using the least amount of force necessary to resolve a situation becomes the guiding principle of Chicago's police force. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.