Demonstrators gathered at the Flossmoor Village Hall for the fourth time to demand justice for Madeline Miller. She was shot and killed by Flossmoor police on July 10 while experiencing a mental health crisis. With picket signs, demonstrators demand that the murder of Miller be added to the agenda. The family of Madeline Miller did not attend the meeting.
Flossmoor resident Dr. La’Shawn Littrice, with megaphone in hand, shouted “Justice for Madeline Miller,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Black Women Matter.” Littrice has been attending the meetings consistently and regularly placed their demands before Mayor Michelle Nelson and the Board of Trustees but has not received any responses. “We will continue to come to the meetings until we get the respect of getting the items on the agenda that we are requesting,” says Littrice.
Littrice says that when there are issues presented to the board, they are addressed the same night. Littrice wants the board to acknowledge that they are being heard, and ignoring the murder of Madeline Miller is a slap in the face of the Miller family.
Flossmoor resident Samantha Moore attended the board meeting because the de-escalation tactics between black and white citizens are different and need to be addressed. “If Madeline Miller’s last name were Cominsky or Schoenberg, police would have got their manual and figured out how to deal with her. Because her name is Madeline Miller, a black woman, the way they deal with black people is with a bullet. That’s the way I see it,” says Moore.
Homewood-Flossmoor High School students and activists Aaron McIntyre and Titilayo Anoma came to the meeting because their presence was the only way to force the board to listen to them. “They have shown us time and time again that no matter what we do, the board is not going to listen to us. Madeline Miller died in July, and here we are in September, and they still haven’t put it on the agenda,” says McIntyre.
The City of Flossmoor’s motto is Welcoming, Beautiful, Connected. McIntyre and Anoma think otherwise. McIntyre feels Flossmoor pretends to be what the motto stands for. McIntyre said neighbors are typically friendly to each other and have that sense of connection, but it’s not the same when it comes to a sense of connection regarding race relations. “The black community is silent, and we are the majority in Flossmoor. The fact that so many people don’t know about the killing of Madeline Miller proves that, says McIntyre. Anoma didn’t hear about Miller’s death until six days later. “I am a Flossmoor resident, and I didn’t hear about Madeline Miller. If Flossmoor is so connected, we would have known about her death,” says Anoma.
McIntyre and Anoma already know that the outcome of the meeting will be that they will not be heard and the board doesn’t care what the citizens of Flossmoor have to say.
At the town hall meeting, Village President Michelle Nelson, made her first comment regarding the murder of Madeline Miller. “For the last several meetings, we’ve heard from many members of Madeline Miller’s family and the public about her death on July 10. What happened on July 10 was a tragedy, and our hearts are with Madeline’s family and all those involved. We understand that her family is hurting, and members of the community want to speak about police and community relations. We agree that having a community conversation is one way we can get closer to our shared goal of continuing to strengthen the relationship between the community and our police department, says Nelson.
Nelson says conversations between the community and police department are ongoing and should never end. Nelson says it’s the village’s commitment to keep a productive dialogue going.
Flossmoor Deputy Chief Keith Taylor discussed the police crisis and intervention training. “We remain committed to exploring ways to enhance our services here in Flossmoor,” says Taylor.
Before the end of the meeting, the public was given 30 minutes for comments. Anoma addressed the three black trustees and asked if they had any compassion for what happened to Miller. “You should fully understand that if that would have been your grandmother, she would have been dead as well,” says Anoma.
Littrice addressed the board with the following demands:
- A discussion of the murder of Miller is to be added to the agenda.
- Release of the names of the officers who shot and killed Miller.
- Implement the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (“CAHOOTS”) program that requires medics and mental health professionals to respond alone to issues of mental health, addiction, homelessness, or with the police if there’s the potential for violence.
- An independent investigation into the murder of Miller and racial disparities within the Flossmoor Police Department.
- Continuous training in mental health, crisis intervention, and de-escalation for the Flossmoor Police Department.
- Elected Civilian Police Oversight Committee.
- Residency requirements for police officers.
When the meeting adjourned, demonstrators left determined to continue the fight and will not quit. They are here for the duration until there is justice for Madeline Miller.