Mitchell: Another family questions police killing

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SHARE Mitchell: Another family questions police killing

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Tamara Ball is caught up in a system that we now know is rigged.

Ball’s son, Warren Robinson, was shot multiple times by an unidentified Chicago police officer on July 5, 2014.

Robinson was two days away from celebrating his 17th birthday.

“They shot my son over 16 times,” Ball told me on Monday. “That was overkill. Everybody gets justice except for him.”

But as the acquittal of Chicago Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans on police brutality charges shows, the blue uniform still carries a lot of weight.

OPINION

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Robinson was one of two teens killed by police during an exceptionally bloody Fourth of July weekend when at least 58 people were wounded and 13 others were killed by gunfire.

The incident happened in the Gresham neighborhood where one person on the block alleged the teen was “running and surrendering with raised hands when a police officer opened fire,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

As has been the pattern, Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, disputed that version of what happened. He said Robinson crawled from under a car holding a .387-caliber semiautomatic pistol and aimed the weapon at two police officers.

Ball never believed the fatal encounter unfolded the way police said it did.

“My son was running up out of his shoes and the police couldn’t apprehend him?” she asked. “He hid under a car and didn’t nobody try to drag him from under the car? They just started shooting him. He had over 16 holes in him.”

The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed Robinson was shot multiple times. His death was ruled a homicide.

I wrote about Ball’s allegations in October 2014. The story was published on the same day Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

At that time, both the Independent Police Review Authority and the Chicago Police Department declined to comment on the Robinson shooting.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office said it reviewed the case but did not approve criminal charges. IPRA did not respond to my request for comment on Monday.

Ball said she tried to get legal representation but a lawyer turned down the case, saying he could not go with just one witness.

The mother hasn’t seen any video of the incident but is undaunted by the accusation that her son had a gun that night.

“If he had a gun, it was probably to protect himself. I don’t know what he had to go through on the street,” she said.

“If he wasn’t aiming or shooting it at police, they didn’t have to shoot him that many times. What happened to shooting a person in the arm or the leg? I thought that was the law,” she added.

The fallout over a dashcam video that showed Laquan McDonald being shot repeatedly after he had fallen has encouraged the

families of other alleged victims to pursue charges against the Chicago Police Department.

But the McDonald police shooting struck a chord with so many people because you could visually see the teen did not pose a significant threat to police officers.

As the Evans’ acquittal shows, the uproar over the McDonald shooting doesn’t mean these police abuse cases are now going to be slam-dunks for the prosecution.

Frankly, there’s no guarantee outraged citizens are going to feel justice has been served no matter how these cases are decided.

So while the mayor’s task force on police accountability may be able to make real reforms that will matter in the future, families whose loved ones have been killed by police have waited long enough for answers.

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