Revolution#134, June 29, 2008

Chicago Police Shoot 5 People In 5 Days

What Kind Of Society
Does This To Its Youth?

Shots from Chicago Police ring out across Chicago. Smoke clears, and two are dead, three are wounded. From June 11 to June 16, five Black men between the ages of 16 and 28 were shot by the CPD.

As we write this, 16-year-old Jonathan Pinkerton lies in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the waist down. For the first eight days after he was shot by police his ankles were shackled to his hospital bed. On June 11 Jonathan was shot in the back by a cop in front of many witnesses and charged with “possessing a weapon.” His uncle, who was at the scene moments after the shooting, told us that people there he talked to said Jonathan was unarmed. And that, after the police shot Jonathan, a SWAT team was on the scene in minutes—pointing automatic weapons at people. Jonathan is a student at Corliss High School, where he got As and Bs. He was planning to tour colleges before his senior year. He had never been arrested, something unusual in a part of the city where Black youth are frequently arrested for as little as just being outside when the police ride by. His uncle described how the police jack people up when they are just coming and going to the store. Think about that: it is an unusual event when a young Black man like Jonathan makes it to 16 years old without ever being arrested.

On June 14, Chicago police shot Devon Young, who dreamed of being a rap artist and practiced his raps in his friend’s apartment, 40 paces from where he was killed by police. Neighbors told us that Devon—D-Mack to people on the block—was killed, shot in the back of the head execution style, while kneeling with his hands in the air shouting out to the police “don’t shoot, don’t shoot—I ain’t got nothing.” A neighbor was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying that Young was not carrying a gun on the night he was shot and killed. On the block where D-Mack was killed, youth wear grim faces as they talk about how police “hop out on you for nothing.” The police “slapped palms” after D-Mack was killed and told each other “Good job,” according to a number of people on the block who spoke with reporters. “They don’t treat dogs this bad” said one of D-Mack’s friends. Killed by police at the age of 26, D-Mack leaves a five-year-old son.

On that same night, June 14, a block away from where Devon Young was shot, another young man was shot in the back of his shoulder after he stopped and put his hands up when the police shouted “freeze.” He is now on the hospital tier of Cook county jail—also charged with possessing a weapon that his friends told us he did not have.

On June 15 Reginald Knight was shot eight times in the back by police and killed on the South Side of Chicago. The mother of his three children was arrested when she came to the scene of the shooting around 10 or 11 at night. She was released six hours later without being charged—it was then that she learned Reginald was dead. Queen Sister of the “It Takes a Village Organization” told us that Reginald, dead at 24, will never again play the sax she said he loved so much for his church or to the children he provided for. Police claim that Knight pointed a gun at them as they chased him, but a man who says he witnessed the shooting from his porch told a Chicago TV reporter, “I didn’t see no gun. He had to use both hands to get over the fence. I didn’t see no gun.”

And on June 16, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune, yet another young man was shot by police on Chicago’s West Side. The article entitled “2 killed, 3 injured in police shootings over the past week” said this man was shot and wounded by police—the fifth in a five day span. Someone who lives where the shooting happened told us that the police had stopped a car, the three guys in the car broke out running, and the police shot one young Black man in the back.

What kind of society does this to its youth? 

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