New year police shootings raise questions

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    Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson

    By J. Coyden Palmer, Chicago Crusader

    A Chicago Police officer has been stripped of his police powers while an investigation is underway into a shooting Monday night on the Northwest Side. The officer, off-duty at the time, shot and killed a man he had recently argued with.

    Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was still looking into the incident. However, a police spokesman said stripping the unidentified officer of his police powers was one of the “strongest steps a department can take.” That comment led to speculation that the officer may have been in the wrong.

    According to police, the incident occurred in the 2500 block of N. Lowell in the Hermosa neighborhood around 9:15 a.m. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Jose Nieves, 38. The Office also said Nieves died of multiple gunshot wounds and declared his death a homicide.

    A cursory police investigation determined that Nieves did not have a weapon; that does not mean he was not a serious threat to the officer. That will be a part of the investigation, according to police. “The Chicago Police Department continues our fact-based investigation of the incident, in parallel with the Independent Police Review Authority,” said spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi.

    Superintendent Johnson has taken a different stance from his predecessors when it comes to police-involved shootings. He was on the scene of Monday’s incident and said his presence was mostly to ensure a proper investigation was taking place. But he also said he had “more questions than answers” about what happened.

    Johnson said the 57-year-old officer and Nieves got into some sort of altercation. The incident “escalated” and Nieves was shot, according to Johnson, who added the two men had a confrontation of some sort only a few weeks ago. Johnson did not know how the two knew one another.

    In another police involved shooting on Monday, Illinois State Police are investigating the actions taken by a DuPage County sheriff’s deputy in the killing of a 17-year-old African American teen in unincorporated Villa Park. Audio from 911 tapes was released to the public January 3, regarding the incident that led to the death of Trevon Johnson.

    Family members of Johnson had called the police after he began attacking his sister and threatening other family members, according to police. Johnson’s sister is heard telling the 911 operator that her brother was pulling all of her braids out, had struck her with a Christmas tree, broken glass in the home, and was arming himself with a knife.

    When the first deputy arrived some sort of altercation with Johnson ensued and the deputy fired, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s department.

    But some of Johnson’s family members say he was unarmed at the time he was shot. They want a full investigation before the public judges Johnson. Six minutes after relatives called 911 the police arrived; gunshots can be heard in the background, along with screams and commotion.

    “We’ve got a person who was unarmed, and now he’s dead,” said Trevon’s uncle, Alfonzo Singletary. “I know that the state has already given a narrative, the police department, of what happened, but we want you all to wait until you hear our side, our narrative, before anybody makes any decision or judgment of what happened.”

     

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