The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Two Weekend Shootings Involving Police Prompt Protest

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 26, 2014 2:20PM

Photo by: mac3
Chicago police killed two men over the weekend in two separate incidents on the South and West sides, one of which sparked a protest Monday. Police arrived at the scene of an East Chatham shooting Sunday, where three people were wounded in a shootout between two men. Police say that when when officers arrived on the scene, Desean Pittman, 20, was standing over another person on the ground. Officers say they fired after the man pointed his weapon in their direction.

A second man, 22-year-old Amelio Johnson, was shot by Pittman and pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Earlier in South Lawndale, police shot and killed 18-year-old Roshod McIntosh after responding to a report that armed men were on the block.

According to DNAInfo Chicago, police approached a group of men on the 2800 block of West Polk Street, and McIntosh ran. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said McIntosh pointed a gun at the officer who gave chase after being cornered on a nearby back porch. The spokesperson also said a 9mm handgun was recovered at the scene.

Some Lawndale residents dispute the police claims, however. Dozens of family, friends and local residents gathered on Monday on the block where McIntosh was shot to call out police for too quick to draw practices. Thomas Patterson, who identified himself as a relative of McIntosh, told DNAInfo:

“The police pulled up and jumped out. They put guns on everybody out there, (yelling) 'Get on the ground, get on the ground. I couldn't see what was happening in the back. They say he had a gun, I don't think so.”

Marcia Sloan, who helped organize the demonstration said “It’s like they’re at war with us.”

So far, Chicago Police have shot 34 people this year, according to a review by the Chicago Tribune. Last year, police shot 36 people, 26 of which were African-American males. While all police shootings are investigated, including the two over the weekend, by the Independent Police Review Authority, little detail of the investigations ever see the light of day.

Attorney Melvin Brooks, who has represented people who have sued police in cases of misconduct, told the Trib:

"Crime, as it relates to the black community, it seems as if it's an alarming level. Some of the police-involved shootings get lost in that discussion. I just think it's hard to necessarily focus on police-involved shootings."

Of the 176 investigations into police shootings from the IPRA since the entity was formed in 2007, it has found officers violated department policies only three times. Additionally, shootings by police are often justified quickly - as a spokesperson for the police has already justified the two that occurred this weekend.

Part of the problem, according to some, is that the IPRA is essentially the police investigating themselves. Earlier this month, groups held an event at Roosevelt University to discuss violent encounters with the police, which happen disproportionately in communities of color on the south and west sides of the city. “The IPRA is supposed to be independently operating to allow citizens to report police violence, but they report police violence for police to investigate,” said Malcolm London, an organizer with the group Black Youth Project 100.