Revolution #159, March 22, 2009

Chicago Cops Kill 2 Black Men in 4 Days

“The whole damn system is truly guilty as hell!”

On March 6 Pierre Ambrose, a 25-year-old Black man, turned the van he was driving the wrong way down a one way street. It was a mistake that ended up costing him his life. That turn brought him to the attention of three undercover police cruising through Pierre’s neighborhood. Pierre was shot to death by Chicago Police in front of the house where he lived with his grandmother.

All witnesses agree that Pierre had a gun, but put it down before the police started shooting. In the words of one witness, “He did everything right.” And the police still shot him! His mother described how she heard two shots and looked out the window to see Pierre fall to the ground.

By the time she ran downstairs, her son was laying face down, handcuffed and shot multiple times. She was quoted in a local news article saying, “When I was going down the stairs, the police stood over him and they shot him again twice. I said, ‘Why are you still shooting him, he’s on the ground?’ I saw this, and a lot of people saw it…. They shot him for no reason.”

Pierre leaves behind two young sons, and one news article stated that he was on his way to pick up his 5-year-old son with his 2-month-old son in the van with him.

We came to the neighborhood the next day with Revolution newspaper, to learn more about the incident and unite with people’s outrage around the murder. Outside the house a memorial had been set up at the spot where Pierre had been killed. Like thousands of memorials for youth cut down by America’s murderous police, this had a memorial photo, balloons and messages of love and mourning.

We spoke with one of Pierre’s uncles who described the murder to us. He made the point that police murders happen all the time. He talked about Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and LaTanya Haggerty who was shot to death by police in Chicago who allegedly thought her cell phone was a gun. He was furious that this happens all the time and none of these cops are ever charged. To emphasize his point about how common this is he called his daughter to get the name of another youth who had been murdered by police a few blocks away from where we were standing.

This is the same police department that shot 12 people in a murderous rampage last summer—6 dead, 6 wounded and 6 were shot in the back. And on March 10, just 4 days after murdering Pierre, Chicago Police shot and killed Matthias Mayhorn. Matthias was shot when the police came to his house on an “investigative alert” regarding domestic violence. Police told his father they caught him climbing out a window and were holding him upside down out the window when he pointed a gun at them. Matthias’s father questions the police version due to the angle of the bullets that hit his son. And witnesses in the neighborhood say Matthias did not have a gun. He was shot multiple times and dropped to his death.

 Both of these shootings have gotten almost no press coverage. What limited press coverage there was on the shooting of Matthias dug into his past to paint him as a criminal and justify the police shooting. Matthias’s father points out that Matthias had not been in any trouble for years and they were working together in a father-and-son electrician business. He commented in outrage, “They painted it like he had no brightness in his future but they took his bright future from him.”

The murder of Pierre Ambrose had his uncle reflecting on how things are. “They created the coke epidemic but they don’t have rehab for people. There are no resources, there are no programs out here—there are no alternatives for the youth. They are left with nothing but gangs and drugs.” He compared the situation of the youth to the situation of people scattered by Katrina. That people still don’t have homes to go back to.

We need to get in the streets and demand that these killer cops be indicted, convicted and jailed! This whole damn system is truly guilty as hell!


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