CPD defends most recent police shootings

June 23, 2008 2:45:32 PM PDT
The Chicago Police Department is defending its officers' actions in two separate, fatal shootings over the weekend. Officials said in both cases the suspects pointed their guns at officers. Both shootings occurred on the city's South Side. On Sunday morning, a man was shot by an officer in the 2300-block of East 85th Street. Hours later, another suspect was gunned down at 68th and Aberdeen in the Englewood community.

In the past two weeks, seven suspects have been shot and killed by police officers. Those cases are being reviewed by the new Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which is understaffed and struggling to earn credibility as the police gunfire continues.

In the shooting on South Aberdeen, police responded to a report of a man beating his wife.

"There were 22 cop cars out here. They pulled their weapons. I told my kids like oh, my good god, they are pulling their weapons," said Cynthia Taylor, neighbor.

Police say they shot and killed 49-year-old Darius Nicholson in his bedroom. Officials said they recovered a weapon in that room. Neighbor Mildred Estelle said she saw the officer who apparently fired the fatal shot.

"When he got out the car to explain what happened, he was shaking and he was crying," said Mildred Estelle, neighbor.

Before dawn on Sunday, police shot and killed 39-year-old Shapell Terrell outside a building at 85th and South Oglesby. Police say they found two handguns near Terrell's body, but his family members say the father of seven children was not a violent person.

"The police officers opened fire on him as if he was a dog in the street," said Denise Franklin, witness

In the past 12 days, four people have been killed and three others have been injured by Chicago police bullets.

"We do want to say that at all the police shootings that have occurred in this last week, weapons have been recovered," said Monique Bond, CPD spokeswoman.

"This is not a game, this is real life," said Mark Donahue, Fraternal Order of Police. "You point a gun to a police officer and you are taking your life into your own hands."

"We starting to see a pattern and the pattern is spreading across the city," said Rev. Robin Hood, community activist.

On Monday morning, anti-brutality activists met with the director of the IPRA to discuss delays in investigating officer-involved shootings. The agency, which formed late last year, originally promised to resolve cases in six months or less. But, that's not the case for Ashunda Harris, whose nephew Aaron Harrison was killed by a police officer last August. She is still waiting for answers.

"When we do talk to them, they don't have any information. It was the same as it was August 6 as it is today," said Harrison.

The IPRA is backlogged with previous cases and is understaffed, having only hired 2/3 of the investigators for which it budgeted.

"I don't want to sacrifice a thorough investigation to get it done in six monthS," said Ilana Rosenzweig, Independent Police Review Authority.

Despite the recent police-involved shootings, the overall number of police shootings for this year is down slightly from 2007.


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