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Family Attorneys In 'Accidental' Police Shooting Question Investigation

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 31, 2015 5:23PM

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: LaTonya Jones, the daughter of Bettie Jones holds a picture of her mother during a vigil outside her home on December 27, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Bettie Jones was shot and killed yesterday at the front door of her home by police responding to a domestic dispute call made by her upstairs neighbor. Quintonio LeGrier, was also killed by police during the incident. The father of LeGrier, a 19-year-old college student who was home for the holidays, called police when his son was being unruly in the family home. Police have said Jones's death was an accident. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The tragic police shooting of 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones in West Garfield Park last week is already under more public scrutiny than most other police shootings. So when investigators returned to the scene of the shooting to gather evidence three days later, the Sun-Times was skeptical.

Eight Chicago police officers and two investigators from the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) visited the house in the 4700 block of West Erie on Tuesday afternoon and stayed for about an hour, a LeGrier family attorney, Basileios "Bill" Foutris told the Sun-Times:

An IPRA investigator had asked permission to enter the property from Antonio LeGrier, who referred the official to Foutris. IPRA told Foutris that investigators needed to gather more evidence that would help "determine the trajectory of the fired bullets, which in turn would have helped to determine where the police officer was when he was shooting," Foutris said.

The evidence should have been collected sooner, Foutris said, which leads him to believe that "the CPD forensic investigators were deciding what evidence not to preserve” right after the shooting happened early Saturday morning. Between the shooting and the investigators' return visit, family and other people have entered the property, which could have compromised the crime scene.

An attorney for Jones' family, Larry Rogers Jr., also heard police investigators had returned.

"It clearly raises a question about how thoroughly the initial collection of evidence was done," Rogers told the Sun-Times.

However it's not unusual for IPRA investigators to return to the scene of a crime, spokesman Larry Merritt told the Sun-Times.

"They're doing it now because a lot of political pressure has been exerted on the mayor," former IPRA investigator Lorenzo Davis told the Sun-Times.

The IPRA has been criticized for "relying too heavily on information that police collect on their colleagues" but the investigators can also look for their own evidence under city law.