Chicago, March 2: Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice

March 2, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Lunch hour in the state of Illinois building, downtown Chicago. The Chicago offices of the Governor, Attorney General, and other state offices occupy this 17-story building. All floors open over a very large, sky-lit atrium in the center of the building. At the very bottom is the concourse which can be seen from all the floors above.

Chicago, Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice. March 2
Chicago, Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice, March 2, 2016. Photo: Special to

In the center of the concourse, over 100 people faced a big Stolen Lives banner and family members of 10 people murdered by police. Many held pictures and posters of their loved ones. At the back of the audience was a bank of TV and video cameras, recording the “Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice" special event on Wednesday, March 2.

Behind and surrounding this scene were hundreds of other people who came to a large food court to have lunch.

“This is a crime scene! Chicago is a crime scene!... Body after body lying in the streets for hours… while cops stroll around and decide how to cover up their crimes! Today we have witnesses to these murders—families who have lost precious loved ones, and refuse to be silent!”

Speaking of the national epidemic of police murder, the emcee continued—Indict, Convict, Send the killer cops and ALL those responsible for covering up those murders to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!

The family members from Chicago whose loved ones were murdered by police were Chantell Brooks, mother of Michael Westley, 15 years old, killed in 2013; Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex, 27 years old, killed in 2011; Janet Cooksey, mother of Quintonio Legrier, 19 years old, killed the day after Christmas in 2015; Lagina Kelly, sister of Christopher Kelly killed in September 2015; Darius Smith, brother of Jamal Moore, 23 years old, killed in 2012; Octavia Mitchell,  mother of Izael Jackson, murdered by police in 2010; “Godfather,” the father of Freddie Latrice Wilson, murdered in 2007. They were joined by Latoya and Alice Howell, mother and grandmother of Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois, police in 2015; Venus Anderson, mother of Christopher Anderson, killed by Highland Park, Illinois, police in a hospital room; and Andrea Irwin, mother of Tony Robinson, murdered by Madison, Wisconsin police in 2015. 

Everyone felt the moral and emotional weight of having all those families standing up and telling their stories together. Each one of these police murders is such an outrage but hearing them at the same time painted a picture that was searing. Mothers were describing teenagers murdered by police; people shot in the back running away, people killed in routine traffic stops. The lies, the cover-ups, the demonizing of loved ones, the retaliation against the families for speaking out. And over and over, no justice... killer cops walk the streets. 

One hundred people filled out the center of the concourse, all ages and different nationalities. Teachers and professors brought small groups of students including “at-risk” youth from one high school. People passing by were drawn into it. The cameramen reacted to it. There was the tremendous pain, and family members broke into tears and supported each other. But there was also something more ... through all the pain was the courage of standing up and speaking out. The anger and the demand that this police murder and terror must stop, built through the event. 

The Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice was filmed by four local news stations and CAN TV cable show as well as several independent film makers. A video will be posted at when it is available.

Chicago, March 2: Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice
Chicago, Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice, March 2, 2016. Latoya Howell, mother of Justus Howell, at mic. Photo: Special to

Some of the words of the parents capture the event:

Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex who was murdered in Chicago during a bogus “high-risk” traffic stop over five years ago. The only one at “high risk” was Darius. (See article on his case online at For the whole time there was a cover up including throughout a civil suit against the killer cop. A new civil trial has been ordered by the federal judge. But meantime the killer cop has still not been indicted. Gloria said that there were a lot of other mothers who weren’t there, but she would speak out for them: “No Justice, No Peace.”

Sixteen-year-old Trevon read a poem he wrote about his brother Darius.

“I’m holding on strong, trying to be a man. Why you had to leave me, I just don’t understand,” he said.

Latoya Howell described how her 17-year-old son, Justus, was shot twice in the back in Zion, while running away from five cops who were chasing him. She went on to address people like those sitting in the food court: “I don’t understand how people go on with their daily lives as if this didn’t happen.  'I’ve got to stick to my job, close my eyes, close my ears to this, I can’t get involved'… If your voice is not heard—KNOW that you are NOT part of the solution. If your voice is not heard—you are part of the problem. Speak Out! Never hold your peace! Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail, The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell.”

Andrea Irwin, the mother of Tony Robinson, who was murdered by Madison police on March 6, 2015. He was shot seven times in the chest and face in 18 seconds. “Every person—if you think it’s not going to happen to you, next time around it CAN be you. It wasn’t me. Now it IS me. Don’t wait until you lose your loved one. This HAS to STOP! If you stand by and do nothing, you’re just as guilty as those who are doing the crime, period. You HAVE to stand up…”

Andrea went on, “We need people who’ve never been a part of this to stand up with us. Because there’s somebody next, somebody waiting in line to have their number called. And we’re going to… watch these people die. Please… make this system change…they NEED to see this, we NEED to take this to their front doors. They have to be held accountable for what they’re doing.”

Chicago, Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice, March 2, 2016
Chicago, Stolen Lives Families Demand Justice, March 2, 2016. Janet Cooksey, mother of Quintonio Legrier, at mic. Photo: Special to

Janet Cooksey, the mother of Quintonio Legrier, the NIU honor roll student who was killed the day after Christmas in 2015 was passionate: “None of the police are paying for (these murders), if they was, this wouldn’t continue to happen.” Referring to the fact the pig who killed her son is now suing his family for his 'emotional distress,' she said, “You kill my son and you want to be compensated for it? You have no conscience, no principles! And these are the people we have to go to … my son called 911 three times for help! The police officer shot him, and then the police officer tried to cover it up and say my son tried to hit him with a bat!”

“Anita Alvarez  subpoenaed my son’s phone. What’s my son’s phone got to do with this? Everything’s about my son! What about this officer’s mental state? They said my son has mental health problems, what about that officer? They say my son had marijuana in his system. He’s a teenager!! What did that cop have in his system? Was HE drug tested? The police are not solving any problem. They ARE the problem…”

After Janet Cooksey finished speaking, Hank Brown, supporter of the RCP, read a quote from Bob Avakian, BA, that spoke to everything that the families were testifying to:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

The event also featured a very moving spoken word performance and together singing “Hell U Talm Bout” (by Janelle Monae)—saying the names of those killed in Chicago and around the country by police.

Grant Newburger urged everyone to take to the streets at 3 pm for this day of resistance to police terror and murder 500 days after Laquan McDonald was murdered. (See news flash about the brutal arrests during the afternoon protests on the streets of Chicago.)



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