Chicago Police Department under scrutiny after officer-involved shootings

Sunday, December 27, 2015
VIDEO: 2 killed in officer-related shooting
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VIDEO: 2 killed in officer-related shooting

CHICAGO (WPVI) -- There is new scrutiny on the Chicago Police Department following a pair of police shootings Saturday that happened just hours apart in the city.

One of those shootings left a 19-year-old college student and a 55-year-old mother of five dead, and Saturday night police are calling the woman's death an accident.

Police acknowledge that one of the two people killed by officers Saturday was struck accidentally. This at a time when CPD is under fire like never before.

Police also announced in a recent change in policy, the officers involved in both of Saturday's shootings will be placed on 30-day administration duties until their readiness for field duty can be determined.

Three people were shot by police in two separate incidents in less than 12 hours, two of them fatal.

In both cases, there are questions about whether the shootings were warranted. But neither Chicago police, nor IPRA, the agency tasked with investigating all police shootings, are saying anything.

"I understand that you all and all Chicagoans are anxious for answers as to what happened here and we will provide any and all information at the appropriate time," said IPRA administrator Sharon Fairley.

It is the first time the IPRA's new administrator has been heard from since she was appointed a few weeks ago. She was at Saturday's second police-involved shooting at 103rd Place and Aberdeen.

Twenty-six-year-old Mekel Lumpkin was critically injured when officers responded to an assault in progress. Residents acknowledge Lumpkin had a gun, but insist he dropped it and had his hands in the air when he was shot.

"If he listened to what the police asked him to do the first time, there was no reason for him to get shot five times," said Carlissa Wilson, the victim's girlfriend.

The bigger questions surround the day's first shooting. Nineteen-year-old Quintonio Legrier and 55-year-old Bettie Jones were both shot and killed after officers responded to a 911 call from Legrier's father.

Family members say Legrier was a Northern Illinois University student who suffered from some form of mental illness. It was after 4 a.m. Saturday morning when he became violent and threatened his father with an aluminum bat.

His father called police and then called his downstairs neighbor to open the door when officers arrived. It is not clear whether Jones had even finished opening up the door for them when officers fired at Legrier who was charging down the stairs still carrying the bat.

"An innocent lady got shot as well, because the police were trigger happy," said Janet Cooksey. "I went to the hospital. My son has seven bullet holes in him."

Bettie Jones' family has already announced they will hold a press conference Sunday morning to talk more about what happened.

While the mayor is on vacation in Cuba, his office released a statement reacting to both shootings that reads in part: "Anytime an officer uses force the public deserves answers, and regardless of the circumstances, we all grieve anytime there is a loss of life in our city. All evidence will be shared with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for additional review in the days ahead."

Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush also released a statement in response Saturday's shootings.

"Why weren't tasers used in this incident?" the statement read. "Why were shots fired before other de-escalating tactics were employed? Why does shooting someone to death seem to be the default tactics of the city's police force? These questions and many others require immediate answers."