On Wednesday, February 8th, an Amtrak police officer shot Chad Robertson, a 25-year old Black man, outside Union Station in Chicago’s South Loop. Yesterday morning, Chad passed away from the wounds inflicted by police.
The shooting left a bullet lodged in Chad’s spine, causing paralysis. His family traveled from Minnesota to be by his side as doctors at Stroger Hospital tried to save his life.
Chad Robertson was a father of two and worked construction in Minneapolis, MN. Chad was passing through Chicago on his way home from a funeral in Memphis when Amtrak police shot him in the back, autopsy reports confirmed. He was unarmed. The Amtrak officer who shot Chad has not been named.
In 2017, Illinois law enforcement have killed nine people and wounded two. Five of the killings by police officers occurred in the city of Chicago. Most recently, Michelle Robey was killed by Chicago Police on Friday night.
We are less than two months into 2017, and Police in Chicago have already killed nearly half the number of people as they did in all of 2016.
We demand justice for Chad Robertson!
We stand with Chad’s family and encourage you to support them in this difficult time. Please donate to and share their support fund, managed by Black Lives Matter Chicago: paypal.me/BLMChi.
Black Lives Matter Chicago
People's Response Team
Artwork by Silvia Ines Gonzalez.
Throughout the year, the People’s Response Team (PRT) has been monitoring and tracking news articles on fatal police shootings in Chicago. PRT works towards centering and uplifting the narratives of families affected by police violence amidst a common, biased alignment of mainstream media and law enforcement narratives.
Between January and October of 2016, there were six fatal police shootings in Chicago. In the past three weeks, five more young Black people have been shot and killed by Chicago Police officers - two of them within 24 hours of each other. These horrific acts of murder at the hands of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) means that fatal police shootings in our city have increased over 1000% in the past month. PRT sees this spike in state-sanctioned violence against Black communities as directly related to the validation of white supremacy through the campaign and election of Donald Trump. We also know that recent history (Laquan McDonald, Rekia Boyd, etc.) has taught us that CPD’s narrative of events cannot be trusted.
The white supremacy that has emboldened Trump supporters to carry out acts of violence across the country is evidenced not only by the rise in vigilante attacks, including the recent murders of James Means in West Virginia and the lynching of Will Sims in El Sobrante, California, but, also, in this form of police violence. The ongoing militarization of police and the political alignment of institutions such as the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)—the largest police union in the country—with Donald Trump, cannot be ignored. Although the FOP did not endorse a presidential candidate in the last cycle, the union issued its full support and endorsement of Trump.
PRT recognizes an alarming connection between Trump’s election and the increase in police shootings in Chicago. Trump ran as the ‘law-and-order’ candidate, spouting white nationalist rhetoric and inciting white fear of Black and Brown people. We do not think it is a coincidence that the local FOP Lodge 7, which represents CPD officers, voted overwhelmingly to endorse Trump as our 45th President.
On November 5th, 2016, an off-duty CPD officer in plain clothes, shot and killed Joshua Beal, a young Black man in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. In the wake of Beal’s death, members of the Mount Greenwood community drove by the murder site and yelled “Trump!” and “Go Home [N-word]!” Directly following the shooting, other Mount Greenwood residents protested and harassed the Beal family. Many of these residents carried ‘Blue Lives Matter’ banners, and one person threatened the family with a baseball bat.
Just last night on November 27th, 2016, another young Black person was shot and killed by CPD. This time, because of the circumstances, we observed CPD live-tweeting from the scene, a shift from their usual protocol. PRT already foresees this shift in “transparency” as a ploy to justify their recent murders in an attempt to pacify the public. CPD, the Mayor’s Office, and the FOP actively pick and choose which incidents they are transparent about and manipulate how those incidents are spun in the media. We see that they are capable of live-tweeting and giving explicit details of the shooting as in the case last night, but have yet to be straightforward about the shooting of 19-year-old Kajuan Raye a night before Thanksgiving, when a sergeant shot Kajuan in the back. CPD also later admitted that Kajuan was unarmed when they murdered him, countering their initial reports. Not only do we demand transparency in every police shooting that occurs in our city, but we also denounce COPA and continue to demand time and money be invested in the Civilian Accountability Police Council (CPAC).
The institution of policing has always been rooted in anti-Blackness, and it has historically served to surveil, control, and target communities of color, especially Black communities. The increased material support of this racist institution will have further serious impacts on Black, undocumented, Muslim, Indigenous, and LGBTQ communities across the country. There will be an increase in the number of emboldened and armed ‘Blue Lives Matter’ supporters. Media outlets will continue to reiterate racist and anti-Black news reports of police shootings that blame the victim and their community. The number of appointed judges who actively ignore or support racial biases in policing will rise. We also know that much of this violence is not new. The increased violence that will be felt in Muslim, Latinx, and LGBTQ communities come January 21st are forces that already heavily impact Black communities. In response to this upsurge in police and vigilante violence in Chicago, PRT is organizing a series of workshops to assist folks in preparing to better protect and defend our communities. All workshops will be in the evening with locations TBA. For more details and registration for each workshop, please continue to check back at our website at the peoplesresponseteamchicago.org.
We also encourage everyone to support the family of Kajuan Raye in raising money for funeral costs. BLM-Chicago is accepting donations on behalf of the family. Please donate to paypal.me/BLMChi and help the family mourn without added financial burden.
Rest in Power, Charles M. Smith.
Rest in Power, Lamar Harris.
Rest in Power, Pierre Loury.
Rest in Power, Derek Love.
Rest in Power, Paul O’Neal.
Rest in Power Joshua Beal.
Rest in Power, Darius Jones.
Rest in Power Kajuan Raye.
Rest in Power, to the Unknown.
Rest in Power, to the Unknown.
In love, rage, and solidarity,
The People’s Response Team
Black Lives Matter Chicago and the People’s Response Team support the family of Joshua Beal and join them in calling for the immediate release of his brother, Michael Beal, who has been held in custody for over 48 hours.
We also join the family in demanding immediate charges of murder be brought forth against the police officers involved in Joshua Beal’s murder.
At 3pm on Saturday, November 5th, 2016, an off-duty Chicago police officer shot 25-year-old Joshua Beal, of Indianapolis, on the 11100 Block of S. Troy in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. Joshua was then taken to Advocate Christ Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.
Initial social media posts by the Communications Director of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) stated that “shots were fired and police returned fire.” Around 6pm, mainstream media began heavily reporting the narrative put forth by CPD, describing the shooting as a “road rage incident.” These CPD-driven narratives further claim Beal was shot because he did not want to drop his gun, or was firing upon officers. The emphasis of Beal firing upon officers was present in nearly every initial live newscast. However, around 7pm, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated that the incident, “involving a Fire Department member and multiple subjects” in which a car was “illegally blocking a fire lane,” led to a verbal and then physical altercation. Eddie Johnson’s statement stated that Beal “displayed” a weapon, but it did not include any mention of officers being fired upon. Police told the Tribune that they are unsure if Beal ever fired his weapon, further contradicting their initial reports.
Witnesses state the fatal altercation happened over a block away from the fire lane, and had nothing to do with blocking it, countering CPD’s claims that blocking the fire lane was the cause of the original interaction. Witnesses also stated they did not see Beal shoot or “display,” a gun in his hands. A witness states that a plainclothes, off-duty police officer cut off the funeral procession with his car. Joshua’s 17-year-old sister then got out of the car and exchanged words with the off-duty officer regarding his dangerous driving. The off-duty officer then threw Joshua’s 17-year-old sister to the ground and aimed a gun at her head. two more officers, only one in uniform approached the group. At that point, Beal told the officers he had a concealed carry license and had a weapon on him. One of the off-duty officers then shot at Beal through the window of the car before running to Beal’s side of the car and continuing to fire, on Joshua Beal. Beal’s mother later said that she was told Joshua was shot twice in the back, and three times in the chest. She was not allowed to see him at the hospital. The police blocked off the scene for more than seven hours, Family members were stranded without access to their cars which were in the perimeter of the crime scene, unable to even retrieve house keys.
Mount Greenwood, a majority white Chicago neighborhood on the southwest side, has a long legacy of racism. The community’s explicit hatred for Black people is long documented, from 1968, where community members protested the presence of Black children in the school, and a playground of seventh & eighth graders cheered when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, to 2010, when a Chicagoan witnessed a group of white teenagers chase Black and Latinx folks out of a park - near the site of Joshua Beal’s murder - after sunset.
Live-footage Facebook feeds from community members on the scene of the shooting Saturday night showed Mt. Greenwood residents with “Blue Lives Matter” flags across the street from where Joshua’s family was gathered and grieving. CPD did little to protect family when a white man approached the family wielding a bat and shouting expletives. Knives and other weapons were confiscated by police as a large crowd of white people shouted, “CPD”, “Blue Lives Matter”, and “N**gers, go home” while the grieving Beal family was trapped in Mount Greenwood awaiting release of their vehicles.
The following day, a group of white residents of Mt. Greenwood, gathered carrying signs that read, “Go home animals!” and yelled in jubilation at the site of Joshua Beal’s murder.It is within this environment that a funeral procession was stopped and a pallbearer in town to lay his cousin to rest, ended up murdered in broad daylight.
We support Joshua Beal’s family during this tragic time. We are determined to center their needs during this tragically inhumane experience. We support the family’s demand for CPD to immediately release Michael Beal, Joshua’s brother - who is still in custody at 5th District Police Station - with all charges dropped. We also support the family’s demand to file murder charges against all Chicago police officers involved in the killing of Joshua Beal.
We demand the State’s Attorney, immediately file murder charges against all of the officers who killed Joshua Beal, now!
Release Michael Beal with no charges, now!
Black Lives Matter - Chicago
People’s Response Team
To donate towards funeral expenses for Joshua Beal,
go to paypal.me/BLMChi.
To donate towards bail fund for Michael Beal, Joshua’s brother,
go to chicagobond.org/mbeal.
On the evening of August 20th, Illinois State Police were involved in a shooting in the South Loop in Chicago following a car chase. A fifteen-year old young man was shot in the neck by an Illinois State Trooper. He survived, was taken into custody after a foot chase, and is now facing numerous charges.
Driving away from police is not an ‘armed confrontation,’ and the hyper-militarized response to this incident had dangerous implications for both the young man suspected of car theft, and residents and passersby in the surrounding neighborhoods of Chinatown, and the South Loop.
Police shot at the car while it was driving away, in a populated area, where bystanders were present. A witness has said that police were shooting at the car as it was driving away around Cermak/22nd St. Shooting into or at a car is against CPD protocol and reckless for the surrounding bystanders/community, and reminds us of the recent shooting and police murder of Paul O’Neal in South Shore. This is a dangerous, reckless trend that cannot continue.
According to police scanners, the driver was assumed ‘armed and dangerous,’ even though no shots had been fired and there was no evidence of a weapon in published reports. Later that night a gun was recovered at 18th and Indiana, but the young man was shot at 11th and Wabash - over a mile away. He was presumed armed and dangerous at the time of that shooting, as mentioned in police scanners repeatedly. Whether or not he was actually in possession of a gun remains unknown, but he suffered a near-fatal gun wound regardless.
In addition to the shooting, there was a major escalation in this incident on the part of law enforcement. The strong police responses included the deployment of SWAT teams and K-9 units in the man-hunt for the young person who had been shot by the Illinois State Trooper, and was bleeding profusely. According to police scanners, he was leaving a trail of blood on the sidewalk and on building doors in the area. CPD also shut down CTA trains during the time of their search, impacting transit for Chicago residents during weekend high-traffic commute time. But there was no mention of emergency medical transport being called to ensure he received care that he needed to survive. Eventually he was taken to Stroger Hospital for emergency care, but just three days later was moved to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he currently faces charges of aggravated assault to a police officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer, and aggravated criminal possession of a motor vehicle.
There is no mention of repercussions for the State troopers involved in this near-fatal shooting of a minor, no explanation of why Illinois State Police are shooting at and around Chicago residents, and no apology for the over-militarized response that inconvenienced residents and commuters and put them in danger.
- The People's Response Team
For Immediate Release
Black Lives Matter - Chicago
People’s Response Team
4/14/2016 - On Monday, April 11th, 2016 at approximately 7:40 pm, Chicago Police shot and killed Pierre L. Loury, a Black 16 year-old boy from Chicago’s West side. Within two hours of the shooting, CPD’s Bureau of Detectives Chief Eugene Roy told press there had been “an armed confrontation between the offender and the officer.” However, Roy did not claim Pierre fired any shots at the officer. Shortly following Roy’s statement, Diane Patheiu of ABC7 News reported that “an officer started chasing him [Pierre]. When the suspect didn’t stop, the officer opened fire and struck the man.” An eyewitness’s account supports Ms. Patheiu’s story, saying that Pierre was shot in the air as he attempted to climb a fence. Disturbing video footage taken on a smartphone by an anonymous witness immediately following the shooting shows the scene seconds after Pierre was shot. It is clear that Pierre was running away from the police officer, face down on the ground on the other side of the fence after being shot, a strip of fabric from his pants still caught to the top of the fence.
Running from the police is not an “armed confrontation.” Killing a 16-year-old because he was fleeing unwanted police contact—contact made merely because an officer said the car he was in “fit the description”— does not warrant an execution. Black people in Chicago have every legitimate reason to fear contact with CPD, no matter their level of “guilt.” By calling this execution an “armed confrontation,” CPD immediately began to fabricate a false narrative of events. Three days later, CPD has still not named the officer who shot Pierre Loury or any other officers involved in the traffic stop or foot pursuit. Video footage from the anonymous witness does not show any police officer retrieving a weapon from the scene.
Photos pulled from Pierre’s social media accounts are now being used to justify his execution as though they are relevant to the value of his life. Mainstream media and racist, public responses are already hard at work portraying Pierre as another inherently criminal, young, Black boy who deserved the violence perpetrated upon him. When Chicago Police and the media deploy this false rhetoric of "Black-on-Black crime", they offer a false explanation of why interpersonal and intercommunal violence occurs in poor Black communities. Instead of addressing the nuanced and myriad causal factors that set the stage for intercommunal violence, this frames the conversation as one of personal choice, bad parenting, and evil individuals, and omits political, social and economic realities that create the conditions that produce crime. In addition, this framing is not based in fact. Chicago’s intracommunity violence is a result of decades of divestment in poor communities. Chicago’s poverty and crime are a result of government divestment.
“Black-on-Black crime” doesn’t explain why studies have shown that poverty highly impacts the level of violence that a particular demographic group experiences. “Black-on-Black crime” is an attempt to keep Chicagoans from questioning billions in misappropriated TIF funds, 54 school closures, six mental health clinic closures, and the de-funding of higher learning institutions that serve predominantly Black people and specifically Black women such as Chicago State University. By painting a picture that all young Black people are thugs and gang members, CPD attempts to gain public approval of its ruthless, unethical, terrorist, unconstitutional and inhumane tactics.
We reject these false, victim-blaming explanations for why a young boy like Pierre Loury deserved to be shot without any questions asked. These are the insidious, unconscionable tactics that the Chicago Police Department is using to avoid being accountable for murdering a child. Just as the 16-year-old white boy, who is being charged with robbing a bank at gunpoint in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood on Wednesday was able to be apprehended alive, 16-year-old Pierre Loury, should have been, too. We demand the names of the officers involved in the murder of Pierre L. Loury be released immediately. We demand a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) now.
No matter what kind of life Pierre Loury lived, he deserved to live it.
Rest in Power, Pierre.