The People

306 PEOPLE WERE SHOT BY CHICAGO POLICE IN THE LAST 5 YEARS

89 were killed. Here, We Charge Genocide presents twelve of their stories. They are the stories of children, beloved siblings, young fathers, a grandmother, and one survivor: a small snapshot of the people whose lives were ended and whose communities were tragically altered by Chicago police violence.

pedro rios jr.

14 years old, Portage Park

He liked his bike. He liked music. He liked his shoes.

Pedro Rios, Sr., father

Before the midnight hour on the fourth of July this year, the Sun-Times Media Wire ran a story with the headline “Person fatally shot by police in Portage Park.” This person was a fourteen-year old child named Pedro Rios, Jr.

Pedro Rios, Jr. attended Gale Math and Science Academy and lived with his family in Rogers Park. Not unlike other boys his age, “He liked sports,” his father Pedro Rios, Sr. told news media. “He liked his bike. He liked music. He liked his shoes.”

The night that Pedro was killed, he had left a party and was walking near Berenice and Cicero Avenues to be picked up by a friend when police confronted him. According to police, they saw an object in his waistband and when they attempted to question him, he allegedly pointed a revolver at them. Police opened fire on Pedro, and he was pronounced dead at 10:07pm by a Cook County Medical Examiner on the scene. His was the third police involved shooting that weekend.

A police union spokesman said the shooting was justified, but the teen’s family questioned why he was dead. “What the hell is happening in this city,” relative Susan Diaz said. “Yet another child is dead, why?”

-Alice Kim

warren robinson

16 years old, Auburn Gresham

Warren wanted love.

Tatechia Martin, family friend

Warren Robinson lived with his grandmother in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. He would take her to church on Sundays. Warren was a graduate of Mahalia Jackson Elementary and attended Julian High School and Banner West Academy. The only people he followed on Twitter were Lil Wayne & Barack Obama. A rapper and singer, Warren was part of the young, emerging hip-hop crew BOB/FOE, Family Over Everything. "Warren took it to heart more than everybody," said DaQuan Davis, FOE member and a friend since the fifth grade. "We were more like brothers. We were all he had. He kept us together."

On July 5th, 2014, Warren was near his grandmother's home when police were called to the neighborhood after reports of gunshots. There are conflicting reports as to what happened next. What is clear: police identified Warren as matching the caller's description, and chased him through an alley. Neighbor Keiyana Hawkins told the Chicago Tribune she went outside and saw a young man running and surrendering with his raised hands when police officers opened fire. The police shot Warren twenty times, according to his mother, Georgina Utendahl. "The police killed him," she told news media. "Why they killed him, I don't know. We want answers."

Tatechia Martin, DaQuan Davis's mother, would let Warren stay in her house for days at a time. "Warren wanted love, " said Ms. Martin, who moved her family to Texas soon after Robinson's murder, to protect her sons from police and violence in Chicago.

“I believe that when the police see a young Black man, they are trained to shoot to kill. They think we are a danger to society,” said DaQuan Davis.

Warren Robinson was sixteen years old when he was murdered by police, three days shy of his seventeenth birthday.

-Kevin Coval

desean pittman

17 years old, Chatham

It's a devastating feeling to bury your child.

Reggie Pittman, father

DeSean Reginald Pittman was the oldest son of the Pittman children. Born on October 30th, 1996, he was two months shy of his 18th birthday when he was killed in a police shooting in Chatham, blocks away from his home, this past August.

Police said they responded to a call reporting a shoot-out. After rounding a corner they reportedly saw DeSean holding a gun and standing over 22-year-old Amelio Johnson, who had been wounded. Police accounts claim DeSean then pointed a gun at the officers, who shot and killed him.

Community mistrust of the police, already running high in Chicago’s neighborhoods of color, was heightened even further when a candlelight vigil held for DeSean the day after his killing was disrupted by a police officer kicking over candles and tearing down posters. His grandmother, Sharon White, said an officer had also said “Awww, too bad he's dead.”

Word had spread that DeSean had been shot – eight times – by a rookie cop who was on the scene of the vigil. The crowd began yelling CPDK, meaning Chicago Police Department Killer.

Among five people arrested at the vigil was DeSean’s mother, Natasha Haul, who had come to the vigil shortly after having to identify her son’s body at the morgue. Natasha was given $75,000 bail and charged with a felony. A community-funding account was set up to help her meet bail so that she could attend her son’s funeral.

Reggie Pittman, DeSean’s father, told news media “it’s a devastating feeling to bury your child.”

-Yana Kunichoff

roshad mcintosh

19 years old, East Garfield Park

I have the right to know who actually murdered my son.

Cynthia Lane, mother

The sun had not yet set when Roshad McIntosh was gunned down by a Chicago police officer on the back porch of a home near Polk and California on the evening of August 24th earlier this year. Roshad, the father of a toddler, was only days away from his 20th birthday.

Police had arrived to the neighborhood that Sunday evening in response to a call about an ‘armed man.’ As they arrived, the police jumped out of their car and pointed their guns at everyone in the vicinity, ordering them to get down. Police then chased Roshad around the back of the house, to a porch, where he was shot. According to witnesses, Roshad had his hands up and was on his knees. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene.

Less than 24 hours later, dozens of people gathered at the house. Among them was Roshad's grieving mother, Cynthia Lane, who demanded justice for his killing. “I have a right to know what happened, to have an answer from the police,” she said. “There are too many complaints against the police for them to ignore. I have the right to know who actually murdered my son.”

As the community marched in the rain to protest the police shooting of Roshad McIntosh, the funeral of Michael Brown was taking place in Ferguson., MO. Days later, activists were able to crowdsource funds help Roshad’s mother pay for his funeral, which was attended by hundreds.

-Yana Kunichoff

denzel ford

19 years old, West Side

He is an innocent child who got shot down.

Kemesha Ford, cousin

Denzel Ford was shot by police more than 8 times in the neighborhood where his father grew up, and where his parents first met and fell in love: the Henry Horner Homes on Chicago’s West Side. Now demolished, the neighborhood formerly occupied by the Horner Homes was where Denzel often went to see friends and family who still lived in the area, including his older sister.

Police stopped Denzel in front of a currency exchange on Lake and Western around 10 pm on September 14th, allegedly for a narcotics arrest. Denzel attempted to drive away, his parents believe, hitting a police car in the process. Two officers then opened fire, shooting the unarmed 19-year-old a total of 8 times while he was behind the wheel of his car.

His cousin, Kemesha Ford, denied that Denzel could have been in trouble. “He had no prior arrests and was a high school graduate,” she said. “He is an innocent child who got shot down.”

Only days after his shooting, Denzel's community organized a protest, to show their outrage over his shooting and to make clear that they saw it as an attempted murder.

For more than a week, Denzel, the youngest of four, was not able to speak to his parents while in serious medical condition—first in Cook County hospital and then in the jail hospital. He is now being charged with attempted murder for hitting the police car, which then hit two police officers.

His parents are eagerly awaiting the moment when Denzel will be well enough to go to court, so they can post bond and bring their son home.

-Yana Kunichoff

george lash

19 years old, Englewood

George was trying to go back to school. George had started attending church. He was trying to get a GED.

Kenneth Cross, stepfather

With guns drawn, police boarded a crowded train at the Chicago Transit Authority Garfield Red Line station, in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 18th, 2010. Police were responding to a call that a man on the train had a gun.

Nineteen-year-old George Lash was aboard the train, on his way home from visiting friends. Recently paroled from jail, George's family said he was trying to turn things around by getting his GED and applying to a school for “at-risk” students.

Four train cars back from George's position, Ambrosia Clemons watched police board the halted train, bearing assault rifles. After hearing shots, he ran to videotape the aftermath. Two Chicago police officers had opened fired and killed George, who Clemons filmed laying on the ground in handcuffs.

The police claimed he pointed a gun at them, but witness accounts vary.

“The lady just whipped it out like the Wild, Wild West and shot him five times... The guy was helpless and already subdued,” Andrew Mims, who was also on board, told the Chicago Tribune. Multiple witnesses said that Lash never pulled or pointed a gun at police. Others say George had a gun and threw it down.

George’s family filed a lawsuit with the police officers involved and the City of Chicago to sue for wrongful death, but the case was voluntarily dismissed in April 2013, following two years of court proceedings. The officers who shot George Lash were granted the Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor for the incident, that year.

-Noreen McNulty

pedro gonzalez iii

21 years old, Humboldt Park

He seemed like a happy kid.

Julio Cajigas, neighbor

West Humboldt Park neighbors of Pedro "Dro" Gonzalez and his best friend Jovany Diaz told reporters in 2011 that summer months on their typically tranquil block usually meant barbecues. But calm in the neighborhood was broken that June, when Jovany was shot and killed during his own fifteenth birthday party. Three days later, Pedro was standing in front of the makeshift memorial outside the home of his slain friend—who everyone said looked up to him—when a squad car pulled up. It was 4:50 pm, before most people get off from work. Thirty minutes later, Pedro would be declared dead at Mt. Sinai Hospital. The cause: multiple gun shot wounds.

As the 21-year-old took off running, upon the arrival of police, two officers fired rounds at Pedro, and continued shooting even after he fell to the ground, according to the subsequent civil suit complaint. Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson Pat Camden told news media afterwards that Pedro pointed a gun at the pursuing officers. Eyewitnesses however asserted that Pedro was unarmed.

His father also paints a much different picture of the son who shared his name, telling media that Pedro, who graduated from Roberto Clemente Community Academy was “quiet and kind of dorky” and that he would’ve run his son out of the house if it seemed he was affiliated with a gang. The night of the shooting, Pedro’s grieving sister spoke of the compounded tragedy, saying "My brother was mourning. He's not even going to get to go to [Jovany’s] funeral because now his mama got to bury him." As neighbors began erecting a second memorial on their block, they shared their doubts about the police. "All these police officers to serve and protect, because someone got killed and then you turn around and kill the person's best friend who you are out here for?"

-B Loewe

rekia boyd

22 years old, Lawndale

Rekia was a fun loving person. She always had a joke about everything.

Darian Boyd, brother

On March 21st, 2012, Rekia Boyd intended to be spending time with family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 22-year-old, who hoped to become a nurse, was one of fifteen close-knit siblings whose father had passed away only five months prior. A car accident kept Rekia in Chicago, however, and she met with friends to enjoy an unusually warm spring evening in North Lawndale’s Douglas Park instead. A few minutes after 1:00 am, Rekia and three friends were stopped near Albany and 15th Place, by off-duty police officer Dante Servin. The officer exchanged words with the group, telling them to “keep the noise down.” As the exchange continued, Servin fired at least five rounds directly at the group. He alleged afterwards that Antonio Cross had a gun. But, Cross was holding only a cell phone when one of Servin’s bullets struck his hand. Another hit Rekia Boyd, in the back of the head.

The following day, she died. “It wasn’t just losing a baby sister or a family member. We all lost a beautiful soul,” said her brother Darrien. Speaking to friends, family and community activists days later, another brother, Martinez Sutton challenged the conduct of the police in the aftermath of the shooting, which Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy initially said appeared justified. “My sister was a young, Black, innocent woman. I want people to know we did not get an apology from the Chicago Police Department. No one sent us anything--not a Hallmark card, greeting, e-mail, anything. Nobody followed up with us.”

The Boyd family was eventually awarded a $4.5 million civil suit settlement from the City of Chicago. In November 2013, Dante Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm, and reckless conduct. The date of his criminal trial will be set in December 2014.

-Noreen McNulty

jamaal moore

23 years old, Englewood

Instead of trying to apprehend anyone, they’d rather shoot them. They have a license to kill.

Gwendolyn Moore, mother

Jamaal Moore was a 23-year-old father of a 3-month-old infant son when he was shot in the back and killed by Chicago police officers on December 15th, 2012. In the late morning hours of a chilly and wet winter day, officers responded to a call that televisions had been stolen from the back of a truck. After a car chase through the south side Englewood neighborhood, Jamaal exited the rear of an SUV in which he was riding, and was then struck by the officer's car. According to a civil rights lawsuit brought by Jamaal’s family, an officer then shot him twice, in the hip and back, as he struggled to his feet and attempted to flee. In fact, according to the complaint, Jamaal was literally in the officer’s hands when she fired her service weapon and ended his life.

After the killing, a group of people gathered at the site and confronted police. For hours after his death his mother Gwendolyn Moore was unable to get any information about where her son’s body had been taken. When she identified herself as Jamaal’s mother and asked the officers on the scene where he’d been taken, she received only a terse, “Get back on the sidewalk, ma’am.” According to the family’s lawsuit, Jamaal’s eldest sister Jaceta received little but racial invective when she asked after her brother—being told he was “just another n-gger dead.” The City of Chicago settled the family’s civil rights suit for $1.2 million in 2013.

-Ramsin Canon

willie miller

25 years old, East Garfield Park

Why do they think we take off and run. Because we're afraid of what they might do. We're afraid.

Tacarla Tribble, sister

On the Friday night of April 9th, 2010, in East Garfield Park, twenty-five-year-old Willie Miller joined his mother and sister at a family gathering. While patrolling the area, police pulled up, citing a “disturbance” in the street. Family members said it had been a celebration.

“There wasn’t any trouble, it was lots of family having a party,” Cassandra Miller, Willie’s mother, told the press.

When police arrived, the crowd dispersed. Police claim they saw Willie with a gun and chased him. They stated that Willie pointed his weapon at them, after which they fired and fatally shot him.

“The police was chasing my son here tonight. And they shot him. They shot and killed my son,” Miller said. “He didn’t have no weapon. He didn’t have no weapon at all. That’s a lie right there. He was just running. They got mad because they couldn’t catch him.” She recalled, “There was one gun shot, I heard the shot. That was the shot that hit Willie and killed him.”

Tacarla Tribble, Willie’s sister, who at the time was 19-years-old, went to the scene to find her brother lying on his back with a chest wound. “I was calling out to him, but he just didn’t respond.”

Police found a gun on the scene, but Willie's sister and mother insisted he did not have a weapon. "They're shooting us down like dogs in the street," Tribble said. “We’re scared, we’re afraid. Why do they think we take off and run? Because we’re afraid of what they might do. We’re afraid.”

-Noreen McNulty

william hope jr.

25 years old, Chatham

It's very shocking. I didn't understand what happened.

Haji Bryant, eyewitness

When William Hope was paroled in February 2010, he returned to Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago's south side. He and his girlfriend of nine years, Jennifer, lived together raising their infant son Will and Jennifer’s daughter Jada. Neighbors described him as “a family man.”

A few months later, in early July, William was sitting in his parked car as two Chicago police officers confronted him. It was lunchtime, in the parking lot of a Popeye's restaurant, ten minutes from his home.

The officers pulled up to where William sat and parked their vehicle perpendicular to the front of his car, blocking his ability to exit.

As the officers approached the driver's side, William began maneuvering out of his spot. According to the officers’ own accounts, William's car was moving at a speed of no more than 3 mph.

One officer reached into the car, in an attempt to turn off the engine. Soon after, the other officer fired at William. Shot four times, he died on the scene. The total time span between the officers' arrival and firearm discharge was less than one minute, according to a report on the case by the National Lawyers Guild.

In the wrongful death lawsuit which followed, the officers' explanations that William became “erratic” and attempted to use his car as a weapon were shown to be inconsistent with witness testimony, physical evidence, and parts of the their own testimonies. On charges of improper seizure, excessive force, unlawful detention and battery, the suit closed in 2012 when a Federal Court Jury awarded William's family $4.6 million.

-Noreen McNulty

angelique styles

60 years old, Roseland

They could've shot her in the leg, not killed an old lady who's been drinking.

Angelique Styles’ neighbor

Angelique Styles, a 60-year-old mother and grandmother, was fatally shot by police in her own home on October 24th, 2013. The house, where Styles was living with her brother, had belonged to the family for generations. The siblings' mother had died a few weeks prior, and a nephew had passed away from a brain tumor the day previous. Styles was in distress, “tearing the house apart” her brother said after he called 911. “She was... distraught with her mother gone” said Chris McKelpin, a neighbor of 20 years. “I was trying to comfort her this week. [Her mother] was her rock.”

Police alleged that when they arrived, Angelique moved towards an officer with a butcher knife, and was told to drop the knife repeatedly. Police claim she then “lunged” towards them, and shot her.

Angelique died later that evening. While police reports contend she was “possibly under the influence of narcotics,” none of her neighbors supported the assertions. Regarding questions swirling around the incident among residents in the neighborhood—as to why an officer would use deadly force with a firearm instead of a non-lethal alternative—Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson Pat Camden told media that instead of asking why the police killed Angelique, “they should be asking why she didn’t drop the knife.”

-H Kapp-Klote

Narratives were compiled from media accounts, public documents, and original research and reporting. We would like to highlight in particular the work of Erica Demarest, Quinn Ford, Erin Meyer, and Benjamin Woodward at DNAInfo Chicago, Antonio Olivio at the Tribune, and Justin Glawe at Vice. Additional stories will be added in future iterations of the site. Please be in touch if you would like to contribute or collaborate. Data mentioned above, 306 shot and 89 killed, is sourced from the Indepenent Police Review Authority's reports, Jan. 2009-Oct. 2014.

Our next release, The Cops, will highlight young people’s testimonies of experiencing excessive force; data visualizations of cost expenditures on police with high volumes of misconduct complaints; and analysis of impunity within the department.