Grandmother calls cops who shot her grandson ‘biggest gang’

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Renea Brown and Collier Baggett believe young African Americans are targets of Chicago police officers.

Renea Brown and Collier Baggett

believe young African Americans

are targets of Chicago police officers.

“My grandson was shot by the

biggest gang in Chicago,” said

Baggett, whose 13-year-old grandson,

Jimmell Cannon, was shot multiple

times by police last month.

More than 40 individuals have

been shot by Chicago police this

year, including 16 who died, a number

that already is more than last

year when 13 people were fatally

shot in police shootings.

Cannon, a student at Piccolo

Specialty School, was shot July 25

in West Humboldt Park while celebrating

a relative’s birthday at a

nearby park.

The youngster’s shooting prompted

a press conference the next day

by police Supt. Garry McCarthy

where he cited the number of policeinvolved

shootings and the uptick in

assaults on police.

McCarthy also talked about the

incident where Cannon ended up in

Stroger Hospital with multiple gunshot

wounds, at the hand of police.

Officers involved in the shooting

said they were investigating a report

of shots fired in the area around 11

p.m. that evening. It was reported

that officers attempted to stop the

teenager as he matched a description

of the suspected shooter.

However, Cannon ignored

demands to drop what police

thought was a gun and then pointed

the weapon at officers, officials

said.

It was then that one of the officers

fired at a running Cannon, striking

the boy in the shoulder, hand and

leg. McCarthy later revealed that the

weapon the boy had was a BB gun,

and it was recovered at the scene.

Baggett, who said Cannon was

recently released from the hospital,

had a different account of what

occurred.

She said Cannon does own a BB

gun, but did not have it in his possession

when he was shot. Baggett

said Cannon fled from police

because one of the officers choked a

friend of his after questioning the

pair. Otherwise, “he will always do

what he’s told,” she said.

Baggett also claimed that the officer

in pursuit of Cannon struck him

with a squad car then told the teen to

turn around before shooting him.

“He told the police officers that he

didn’t have anything,” she said. “He

doesn’t understand why he was

shot. Jimmell keeps asking, ‘Why

did he shoot me?’”

McCarthy defended the actions,

saying the officer had no choice but

to use force after Cannon decided

not to obey orders to drop the

weapon.

“We all want the same thing,” the

police chief said at the press conference.

That same night, police were

involved in another shooting where

two officers shot. One officer was

grazed another was left with a bullet

lodged behind his ear.

“We all want safety … and security

in the community,” McCarthy

said.

Brown, the mother of Shandra

Kidd who was sentenced to 55 years

in prison for attempted murder and

unlawful possession of a weapon for

allegedly trying to shoot a cop in

2007, said she can relate to the

plight of many individuals and families

who have been shot or know  someone shot by a police officer.

“They (Chicago police) are overdoing

it,” Brown said. “They are

supposed to serve and protect.”

In almost similar circumstances

as Cannon, Kidd was shot during a

foot chase.

At the time, police said they were

investigating a report of shots fired

in the 7800 block of East Burnham

when they halted a car Kidd was riding

in to question her.

It was then reported that she ran,

and when an officer caught up with

her, she put a gun in the officer’s

chest and fired. On two occasions

Kidd allegedly fired the gun without

it discharging rounds. Following a

struggle, the officer shot Kidd as she

attempted to run.

“She was never in a car,” Brown

said in dispute of police reports. “It

didn’t happen the way the police

said. She never had a gun. It was a

cover up. My daughter ran was

because she didn’t want to get in

trouble for being brought home by

the police. I’m not going to give up

trying to get justice for her.”

Even though both women say

they have great respect for the

police, it won’t completely change

their perceptions that some officers

prey on young Blacks – a perspective

based on their own experiences

dealing with law enforcement.

“All this needs to stop,” Baggett

said. “When the police shoots someone,

nothing is done about it. These

people are targets for the police.”

The Independent Police Review

Authority has responsible for conducting

investigations into allegations

of the use of excessive force

and police shootings by analyzing

data to find systemic patterns to

those incidents.

According to the organization’s

data, 31 African American males

(including police officers themselves)

had been shot in police

involved shootings through the first

six months of the year compared to

a combined four such shootings

involving whites or Hispanics.

“Shootings are always a concern,”

said IPRA Freedom of Information

Officer Eric Mullenbach. “That’s

why we try to find patterns. One

shooting is too much.”

Mullenbach said the organization

solicits recommendations from the

Chicago Police Department and residents

in an effort to reduce the

number of conflicts.

“The police department has made

some adjustments in some areas,”

Mullenbach said.

CeaseFire Director Tio Hardiman,

whose organization claims to assist

in mediating conflicts to prevent

surges in shooting incidents and

ease tensions between police and

families of individuals who are shot

by cops, said he doesn’t have a

definitive answer for the dramatic

spike in police-involved shootings.

Hardiman, however, just wants

gun violence, in general, to stop

altogether.

“Police have to do a job,” said

Hardiman, who plans on collaborating

with various legal defense

organizations to help educate young

men and women on how to deal

with the police. “There are two sides

to every story.”

“You can point the finger both

ways (at police and residents),” he

continued. “Everyone needs to put

their guns down and stop shooting.

No one should be shooting at the

police. We don’t want to see anyone

get shot, police or anybody else.”

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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