Chicago Sun-Times
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Mitchell on Cabrini-Green Shooting

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What is it going to take before the Chicago Police Department realizes that a lot of black people are fed up? And when will the aldermen open their eyes and see that many of their constituents are sitting on a powder keg?

This is true not just because a 14-year-old boy from Cabrini-Green was critically injured when he allegedly pointed a replica of a 9mm Smith & Wesson at officers. But because too many people are complaining about being mistreated by police officers.

People will debate whether or not the Cabrini-Green teen brought the shooting on himself since BB guns are illegal in Illinois. Some of them will blame the boy’s parents for not knowing he had the fake gun. Others will blame the cops for shooting first and asking questions later, even though police have been killed by gun-toting teens.

Unfortunately, A lot of black people are more willing to believe that a white cop would shoot an unarmed black kid than they are willing to listen to the cop’s side of the story.

There is a good reason for black people not trusting the cops.

Even people who have never had a run-in with police, know there is something terribly wrong when hundreds of black suspects are tortured into giving false confessions, and the man primarily responsible for those tortures is rewarded with a fat pension and time to spend cruising in a boat called “Vigilante.?

Even people who have never seen the inside of a jail and couldn’t care less when drug dealers and gang-bangers are locked up, know that something ought to have been done about Jon Burge and his posse.

Because the city did nothing to stop this racist cop back then, and because the law says it’s too late to do anything about him now--we shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people in black neighborhoods are complaining about being disrespected by police.

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Well Mary way to completely miss an opportunity to show some unbiased reporting. You trumpet what you feel is biased based policing every chance you get however, when an incident occurs where there is a clear opportunity to place blame on the bad guy you spin the situation back to Burge and blame the police once again. While many blacks have been mistreated by police officers this incident has nothing to do with those incidents. While many may feel they have been wronged in the past there is no reason to believe the officer in this incident did anything but protect his life and that of his partner and the surrounding community. If at every opportunity we as a community live in the past we cannot build a better future. The injustices of the past have become a crutch for the black community to lean on when blame must be placed squarely where it belongs. In this case it belongs with the parents and the child with the gun.



Randy, you missed my point. I did not blame the police for the shooting. At no point did I suggest the cops were not justified in shooting the 14-year-old. I tried to bring some context to why people in a community like Cabrin-Green would believe a white cop would shoot an unarmed 14-year-old.

It is absurd to think that the past mistreatment of blacks at the hands of white police officers has no bearing on how some blacks view white police officers.

No doubt, many wrongs have been committed against black people by bad cops. The problem with the big protest over the shooting involving the 14 year old with the bb gun, is that it erodes the credibility of the black community. Why would anyone march for a punk with a realistic looking gun who uses it to rob people? To stand up for criminals against the police in your own neighborhood, makes you look foolish at best. Side with the cops when you know they are right. March in protest when you know they are wrong. Don't join a protest until you understand what happened.


The protest by 200 young people in Cabrini-Green should not erode the credibility of an entire race of people. The protest over the shooting had more to do with the frustration this low-income population has over their plight, as well as a distrust of police, than it does the BB gun.

Please, do not confuse loud and vulgar with righteous indignation. What is this thing that Blacks, who are shooting one another down at near epidemic porportion throughout this country, only get upset when someone other then another Black squeeze the trigger. This is the same community that the streets had to be closed down in order for traffic to egress peacefully to and fro. This is the same community that for many years boasted it own Police Unit, dedicated to this specific geographic area and its people. Where are the reverends, the activists and the concern parents, when one child shoots down another. Where are the marches,the protesters, the bullhorns, the sobbing wretched souls of the disenfranchised. You want to know what Black People are tired of:
sneaking out to empty the garbage, wondering if some Black guy is going to jump from behind the garage cans and rob or shoot them. Black People are tired of sleeping on the floor, because the neighborhood punks, gangbangers, dope dealers and the likes, decide to fire their weapons indiscriminately into the night. Black People are tired having to send their kids through a maze of street walking anti-social rejects, just to attend a subpar school. Black Seniors are tired having to run for cover at the approach of darkness, because the young men think of them as easy pickings. Black people are tired of being intimidated by those who subscribe to a life style of lawlessness. Black people are tired of being silent, for fear of retributions. Black people are tired of working endlessly, only to return home to find that their homes have been burglarized or damage by the idle masses. Black People are tired of being lumped in with thes idiots who see ever misfortune as a lotto or a get rich scheme. Black People are tired of self serving politicans, self annointed reverends. Mostly Black People are tired of being tired.

You know something, I am so tired of hearing that the criminal is suddenly the victim, just because he is black. As someone who has family members who are police officers, I would like to say, I would prefer that they come home safe rather than hesitate and end up in a body bag. I have in my own neighborhood witnessed first hand how disrespectful some black children can be toward the police. For instance, I came upon about 15 kids(between 7-15 in age) arguing with about 4 police officers. With all the noise they were making, you would think at least one parent would come out and try to correct them, but no that is what they have taught. They think it is funny to be ignorant, but let something happen and who do they expect to help them?? The same officers that they were just insulting. The police are constantly putting their lives on the line, granted there are a few bad in the bunch, but as you said don't label the entire group for a few that have made mistakes. I cannot imagine any of my children acting so disrespectful to any adult, let alone an authority figure. Stop using the environment as an excuse, there are many that have brought themselves along way from the projects. They didn't allow themselves to become a product of their environment. And for God's sake stop using being black as the reason for everything. I think that more than any other race, the black people are the first to use the "race card". Get over it already, as I think that it is type of person bringing problems on themselves sometimes with that rare exception.

I'm not a BB gun toting punk and I'm sick and tired of the Chicago Police. I am not black, but stand in solidarity with the African American community every time one of our brothers' civil rights are abused at the hands of the corrupt Chicago Police Department. The injustices of the past will stop being a crutch for people of color once they are appropriately redressed and justice is found for each and every one of them.

The corrupt Chicago Police Department feels entitled to mistreat all residents of minority communities with impunity. Until that sense of entitlement disappears, they get nothing but disdain and contempt from us.

I question why it took three bullets for a cop to make his point.

Was his life really in danger after his first round was shot? That's where I feel it was wrong...dead wrong. Firing three shots in a young kid.

We can't have it both ways. On one hand, we scream that the police don't care when crime happens in our neighborhood, but when they do respond, an something goes wrong, we complain even when we, as black people probably would have responded the same way. It is sad that a 14 yr old was shot, but why did he have a gun of any type? In a city of all places. How would anyone know that its not real, particularily when you are making a slit second decision about life or death, maybe even your own. The fact that we keep having these incidents, fear walking in our own neighborhoods and feel the need to escape to somewhere else, just shows the sorry state of our community.

Ed Bone: you nailed it man. You hit a home run in a way a race-baiting Mary Mitchell will never acknowledge even if, deep in her heart, she knows you're right. The hard truth doesn't sell papers. Well done.

ed bone is right: we are each other's worst enemy.

Marches and protests lose their influence on many of us when the black community keeps reelecting Mayor Daly.
How bad does it have to be before you realize blacks in Chicago have it much worse than blacks in other parts of the country.
Children shot by random gun fire is a very rare occurance nation wide. In Chicago it is the norm. When a child is shot, the mayor only makes a statement if the gun used falls under some statute he is trying to push through for political reasons.
He has conned the black community for years and you keep accepting it.

Mary - I just read Mary's comments about Blacks being tired.

Her statements are so true, I've often wondered why our "Black Leaders" don't speak out more when our children are being killed by those in their own community everyday. The march and chants of "no justice, no peace" end as soon at the TV cameras go away. No one comes forward to help solve these crimes, not even a police artist sketch is ever provided. Yet, we moan and groan when the media moves on to the next story. While we can't deny the impact that racist police have had on our community in the past, I refuse to believe that it has anything to do with what we are doing to each other in 2006.

I'm sorry but I would have to agree with most of these post. Your comments come off as a defense rather than point the finger at these morons. The protesters were not all from the area much less adults. They were gangbangers and family members of the criminal who was using this weapon to commit crimes. Why is that not spoken about?
By your above reply's, Why wouldn't it be the same for white people to hold grudges against blacks for the criminal element that is prevelent in these impoverished neighberhoods. ANSWER: Because the black equality movement would never have gotten of the ground without the joint efforts of all people.
We who were raised to treat people equally are tired of blacks blaming all whites for their troubles. Black people will never get respect when they pull this nonsense. This is about gentrification so why not protest the Alderman? The people of that neighberhood had just had meetings with the Police about continued trouble in that area, then this shooting happens...You can't have it both ways!
Bad people obviously don't like the Police, So do you beleive EVERY claim they make. I remember my friends older sister refering to me as "blue eyed Devil" when I was over at their house as a kid...Should I hold a grudge the rest of my life for the ignorance of others? I feel the most for the hard working people of all impoverished areas that have to deal with this element. They will always get it from both sides...Who speaks for them?

Once again, I'm not surprised you have no condemnation for a teen who points a gun at a police officer. Nevermind the criminal history and community violence involved that you could have even blamed for this.
You question the police tactic of shoot first ask questions later. I would love to see your reaction when a drug dealing, gang banger points a gun at you. Those officers had every right to shoot, and did. How you bring police torture and white vs black in the story is beyond me. Stretching to make such a baseless conclusion is what perpetuates the view you claim to try and dispell, that whites have of blacks!!

Wow the irony of this conversation. Newsflash, the 14 WAS armed (bb gun or not)it looked all to real to me. The people in Cabrini Green not trusting the police, is also vice versa. Case in point what happened.

Of the 20 or so officers that I know personally, their goal at the end of the day is to make it home safe to their families. Not worry about some punk pulling a weapon, real or not.

Could this whole issue be that it was white officers shooting a black child? Gee my the tides have turned as opposed to your views with Ryan, shoe does not feel good on the other foot does it.

My question being to you is this...... why is almost everything you ever publish or post have to do with race? It seems like as others try to get past the race issue, you keep throwing it in everyones face over and over.

Maybe the Sun Times needs a journalist that reflects the views of the white people, just to even the scales. Sun Times you can contact me at any time..... lol


My comments are about race because this is a blog where people are invited to talk about race.

I have to agree with Mary's comments. I live on the west side of Chicago, I am degreed and serve as an officer at one of Chicago's largest financial institutions. I too am appalled that our so called leaders can always find a television camera/microphone when a Black person is hurt/murdered by someone other than another Black person. When I read about the 12 year old who with his 17 year old cousin killed a man during a dice game @ 12:30 a.m. and the 14 year old who was shot by the police officer this week, I am perplexed. In both of these incidents the victims were also Black. If I was transplanted into this country, specifically this city with no background and I read these articles I would think that is okay for Blacks to rape, murder, robbed other Blacks, as no says anything about that. The 14 year old used that BB gun to intimidate and rob another young black person. I don't hear the outrage in that. The 12 year old found guilty of murder should have been at home at a time when he took someone's life. Rev. Meeks, Jesse Jackson, Paul Jakes.... I could go on, should be in the news and sending the message that black on black crime is not okay. Rev. Meeks is quick to attack what "white" people are doing to our community. He boast of a congregation with a membership in excess of 10,000 people, how many daycares/preschools has he opened? With this venue, why isn't he attacking teen preganancy, school expulsions/dropouts, gang violence, drugs and violence in the community. When I saw the coalition of black clergyman and alderman fighting the Big Box legislation I was sad for a few reasons. The first being it appears that many of these so called leaders are bought and paid for. Why should anyone in the United States of America work everyday and still live below the poverty level? Why is the bar set so low? Secondly, the pure economics of these retailers tells the story, if Target and Walmart were not profitable in the city, they would not be looking to build stores. We have to take control of lives, our children and be responsible to ourselves.


Only one point of clarification. Rev. Meeks has both a school and a daycare center. His congregation has been involved in a door-to-door campaign to encourage parents to get their children to school. His congregation also serves as mentors at local schools.

Did ya not notice yesterdays pic of the police officer taunting the young man,not one paper made mention of this photo.That is what they do, they dare people to fool with them. You can't do any thing I am the police. The whole system sucks. I read your column all the time you are a fair and honest person. thank you for listening.

Where were the parents and why was this kid running in the streets with a BB gun that looks like a 9mm. Okay, having said that, when the police tell you to stop, stop. End of story. The cops are authorized to shoot to kill you. Period. Where are the aldermen when it is time for summer jobs, where are the community activists when kids are running wild in the schools and the teachers have to take half the class to calm them down, they are absent. Time to stop blaming the cops and look at some personal responsibility here. You cannot run the streets like a lunatic with the intention to harm and expect the police to stand by. They are trained to take you down if need be.

Bravo, ed bone!!!
The "tired of" segment of
your commentstells it just like it is - If as a group we devoted ourselves to banishing these societal ills one by one - we wouldn
not be embarassed by a mix
of poorly-trained barely literate "preachers" on the evening news. Where are
the communty centers, the scholarships, the school volunteers that these churches could help to establish - Their "march" was laughable considering the boy had a "toy" (?) gun
and they were reduced to a bunch of silly old men getting face time on tv

Time now for truth and it hurts. . .

You need to have proof before you make accusations against cops. What proof do you have that Burge tortured hundreds of suspects? Are you taking the word of a cop killer like Andrew Wilson and other ex cons who had rap sheets as long as your arm before they ever met Burge? Crying police brutality is the oldest trick in the book for criminals to claim to get themselves out of trouble. And how do you know those cops yelled racial slurs at that west side incident involving that dog attack? Just because some black residents said it happened? Oh yeah, I forgot, blacks never lie about racism accusations(yeah, right). Blacks are reaping what they sowed by making the racism cry a part of their everyday life, even if the racist incident didn't occur. That's why most whites don't believe the Burge accusations, that's why most whites don't believe the cops yelling racist slurs in the street. It's the boy who cried wolf theory, so you only have yourselves to blame for the apathy of white people and white elected officials. If you didn't turn the concept of racism into a joke, maybe you would get some support and action from us, but you blew it.


Read the Burge report, then get back to me.

I just want to say, "Thank God," that young man is going to pull though! I just hope that young man comes to realize he needs to, "pull away," from all the negative forces around him. I myself lived in Cabrini Green in the 60's and it was a large part of my life until folks I knew of moved up, down and on to better things? We had gangs back then, but not the sick breed that's, running ramped today! In my day, you talk about a it takes a village to raise a child? If a child did something wrong, the child got disiplined from school, the old lady everybody knew in the neighborhood and god help you when you got home. Adults did not go against other adults when a child does something wrong he/she knew it was wrong by every wrath suffered. Today, it's the opposite time 20, when a child does something wrong, 'It's everybody elses,' fault but theirs. I'm a baby boomer and I know for a fact this generation walking around here today, wreaking havoc, breeding misery, blaming everybody else, "But themselves," for the shape there lives are in, is too blame for a lot, mainly shape they're own life is in. What scary about it, "They are lying around breeding like old house cats," then want's to turn around and put there responsiblities off on everybody else. Low Income my A!#! They were Low Income standing in one spot, so that's an excuse, "To not have to stand up, take responsiblity for there foolish mistakes and deliver themselves! We are seeing the aftermath of what's done & not done! We have a 13 year old child, not knowing any better than to point guns, or what even looks like a gun at law enforcement. If that young man had been, "taught better," he'd have knew better. Then to have the "sorry," father to even have in print, "Admitting, he has bad kids, but his Jr., is not one of them," man if that's the case, we'd better hold on to our seat's because the bumpy ride has not started yet! What I'm trying to say, is, "Black People, African American's," whatever you prefer to be called? Addressed as? Please wake up and cut out the madness, please. It's said, being born black is a strike against a person, if that's true? Let's stop bringing more odd's against ourselves and our other brother's and sisters. P-L-E-A-S-E stop the madness! As far as "Law Enforcement Officers," goes, they are a whole other story and there are some one does not have to point guns at, all you got to do is not be white, that I can attest to from experience. I've never been arrested, etc., however, the incidents I've had with certain mentalities of law enforcement officers, both "Black & White." I can say, from my experience(s) the black cops were worst than the white cop's x 10! They were rude, obnoxious and plan scary. What I mean by scary is the fact of individuals like that is, "Allowed Legally," to bare fire arms. I feel the protesters pain from my own experiences. It sure don't take the shooting of a 13 year old child regardless of the circumstances to feel that!

I completely understand that the less-than-stellar history of Chicago cops in black neighborhoods has a lot to do with the outrage in Cabrini-Green.

but I have to wonder, would people there be equally as outraged if it was a black cop who did the shooting?

in other words, is this an issue of pent-up rage in general, or really rage over this particular incident?


I think it is a little of both.

You cease to amaze me Mary. I enjoy reading your columns and how you express your points but are you not stereotyping here?

Because a handful of white cops mistreat or beat black suspects does this erode all white cops?

If you turn the tables around and you have a majority of blacks commiting crimes does this mean that all black people are the same?


My column should not be interpreted as saying that all white cops beat and mistreat black citizens. My column was an attempt to explain why some black people do not trust cops -- white and black.

The post by Ed Bone was one of the most truthful I have ever read. We all have to resist the temptation of lumping people together whether it is the police or a race of people.
I read two quotes from this boy's father that said " I did'nt raise him to be like me" and "I have bad kids but he is not one of them" That in itself tells you a little about what was going on with that kid.
Ed, while not black, I am latino but I am with you on this one. We are tired. We have way too much violence in our communities. Our children are preying on our children and elderly. We see it everyday. It has become part of the landscape and it is given a pass because no one wants to admit it is thier child doing it and they do not want to take responsiblity. But when the Police shoot someone we are surprised and outraged? We should be more outraged that we are killing each other. I do not know what happened on the street that day, I was not there. I hope for the family and the Police Officer involved that they find peace. I hope we as people of ALL ethnic origins, black or white find peace.

Mary here is a passage and quote from an article in the Suntimes wednesday and I think it goes a long way toward the reason for poor race relations between Blacks and Whites.

'Community . . . is fed up'

One man allegedly spit on an officer during the march and was sprayed with Mace by police trying to arrest him near Scott and Larrabee, which brought forward the protesters with the broom handles and bats.

And when Thomas Strong, Ellis' uncle, questioned why no one from the department had come to speak to them about what happened, one woman shouted: "Because he's black, and he lives in Cabrini-Green!"

"This a community that is fed up,'' said Dierdre Brewster, a community activist who organized the march. "It's obvious."

Whites and hispanics in my office (3 whites 2 Hispanics) are wondering what is going on 2 black youths attempt to rob someone the police try to stop it. The police ask the 2 to drop their weapons and lay on the ground one of the youths refuses to drop his weapon and gets shot. Tragic that the youth was a teenager and shot but, to whites and hispanics its even more tragic that a fourteen year old has the means temperment and anger to commit an armed robbery.
The outrage is not being directed at the youths actions, lack of parental guidance and/or supervision nor apparently is the black community fed up with armed robbery no they are fed up with police action to protect themselves and residents of the community who then threatens those very police with bats and brooms.

Blame the cops when they aren't in the neighborhood, blame the cops when they are in the neighborhood, blame the cops when they arrest criminals blame the cops when they don't arrest criminals. They attack the cops threaten the cops and disrespect the cops and the residents of Cabrini are outraged?
Talk to some of the officers and firemen for that matter and feel their desperation and exasperation for the futility of their policing and life saving efforts in Cabrini.



I talked to the police spokeswoman and she says there was no robbery attempt or robbery. Apparently, there was a fight between two groups of boys--not a robbery,

It is my understanding that the uncle of the boy that was shot is a former gang member with 33 convictions on his rap sheet. Maybe if he would have spent some quality time with his nephew all of this could have been avoided in the first place. Who better to explain to his young nephew how NOT to behave. It's Common Sense 101. DON'T point an illegal gun at a police officer. The uncle seems to be putting a lot of effort into this protest. It's a shame he didn't put more effort into his nephew's life before this incident!

As a former resident of Chicago, IL, I recall longing to relocate to another city or state to escape a combination of both rogue police and anti-social rejects which drove me from the city I once loved. I'd experienced to many incidents during adolescence, where I was accosted by police for resembling some alleged homicidal teen or openly harrassed for walking out of my mother's home to either run errands for her, going to and from school, on my way to a church function, or to visit friends. I strongly believe the Police are not the innocent here. It was reported the young teen was an A-B student, of course this is disregarded because police don't shoot students with good grades which may indicate a person of high morals and good character. You don't acheive such grades in that type of environment unless you have a good head on your shoulders. What I chose to believe with the limited evidence presented is a child who used bad judgement and an officer who made a horrible decision. It is no hidden secret that Black life is valued less in this country. So the officer will receive desk duty or administrative leave and a family may lose a loved one. Yes, black people are fed up and the officers who've sworn to protect them are fed up as well. It's as if the police mentality is, "Let's take'em (black people)all out. We'll sort'em (law abiding blacks from the outlaws and criminal blacks) out later! My past experiences will not allow me to side with the officers. Fact. Officers are aware of the people and environment inwhich they patrol. Though officers may not know every resident by name, the officers are familiar with the faces. The Police will not admit it, but I'll guarantee you the officers more than likely were familiar with the young man, which leads me to believe the incident could have been handled less violently. This incident wreaks of an impending police coverup. History has taught us that regardless of the facts the police will distort them to ensure they have a favorable out come.

I agree that blacks have a mistrust for law enforcement.

In 2005, I was assaulted in Oak Park in broad daylight by 2 plain clothes detectives.

They pulled me over because they thought I said a negative remark about the police. I was listening to headphones at the time and was not even aware of them until they parked on a curb and ran out toward me. I did not know that detectives routinely pulled over walking pedistrians to issue tickets. But instead of just issuing a ticket, they assaulted me.

They bent my wrist back so far that I thought it would pop off, drug me across the ground and yelled countless racial slurs and curse words at me while trying to provoke me to react. I did not react, I am not a big person and I thought they were going to pull me into their car and take me off to beat me.

I am a woman that weighs less than 135 pounds. The detectives assumed that I was a teenager as many do, because I look very young and was wearing sports attire at the time. However, I am a 37 year old professional person. My mistake was calling the Oak Park police dept. to file a complaint, hoping for assistance. I was even transferred to the person that ended up being the incident investigator when I called 911. Yeah, I called 911 crying when I got home. After a long time, I realized that he'd swept the incident under the rug, after informing me that they had dropped the fake public profanity charges against me and that I would not have to go to court.

I don't know what the statute of limitation is on police brutality, however I would like to pursue this. Mainly because these incidents have not gotten any better. If we don't stand up and complain, the public will assume that it only happens to "bad" blacks. No, it can happen to CEOs too.

If you can assist me, please email me back at



This sounds like a case for a good lawyer.

Ms. Mitchelle. I'm no dummy! If I was as cop and I saw some idiot carrying "a gun" with reports of robberies in the area, I'd shoot him/her too. RACE BE DARNED!!!I'm Black. I don't live my life through other Black people!

Mr Ed Bone I commend you and agree with you whole heartedly. I was having a discussion with relatives earlier this week and we were discussing the Burge incident and I was explaining to them that while most black people abhor what Burge did, they are feeling somewhat ambivilent because they are tired of being held captive by neighborhood terrorists that have taken over entire blocks, communities and smaller cities most of which are predominately black. Ms. Mitchell and I live in the same western suburb and I have to tell you, everytime my childen leave home to walk to a friends house, go to the store or even sit on the front porch my heart can not rest because I don't know when or if some idiot thug will pull out a gun and start shooting. Let's face it, these problems are not happening in predominately white neighborhoods and maybe once these terrorits are no longer a problem and we can live in our communities in peace we can fully focus our attention on things like police misconduct and other social ills in our society but for now I am TIRED of community meetings that never lead to any changes, I am tired of marches that lead to no where, I am tired of black people loosing their minds when they are mistreated by some white person but turn a blind eye on all the black on black crime that permiates our communities and frankly I am just about at the point of saying, I don't care what means are used to get rid of these murderous, terrorist thugs, just get rid of them by any means necessary.



Chicago Police spokeswoman has now confirmed that the young man lied about the robbery attempt. The incident started with a fight between two groups of boys.

Mar, one sentence really jumped out at me in your column about the young thug who pointed a gun at the police and was justifiably shot by them. You said "My fear is that one day, it won't matter whether the police were justified in using deadly force, because no matter what the police brass says, citizens aren't going to believe them." Hate to be the bearer of bad news Mary, but that day came a long time ago. Black people just don't trust the police, or anybody else in any position of authority. That is just a sad fact of life. All you need to do is listen to WVON and hear the distrust, the disrespect, and the hate they have for any authority figure, especially a "white" authority figure. The ignorant actions of the protesters the other night at the hospital and the next day at the police headquarters should prove that also. And the defending that many of them did of the Wilson brothers because "allegedly" they were roughed up a little bit by John Burge after they murdered two of his policeman in cold blood should also prove that. They murdered two cops! How can any sane person not recognize that? Anyway, I think the bigger argument here is the old chicken or egg theory. I don't know which came first, but I do know that when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, except for professional, always on the run criminals like Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, and their ilk, we never, ever heard of anyone even talking back to a policeman, let alone pointing and/or firing a gun at one. Disrespect of the law is just way over the edge in some circles and if it doesn't get turned around soon, there is just going to be more and more scenes like we saw the other night in Cabrini.


I agree with a lot of your points, except no one can say how all black people feel about anything. Also, I woudn't characterize the Burge tortures as a little bit of roughing up--not when you burn suspects with cigarettes, tie them to hot radiators, and shock their testicles.

Mary, it makes little difference whether we know now that the 14 year old offender wasn't trying to rob someone. What matter's is that, at the time, the officer was under the reasonable impression that the offender had tried to rob a victim with a gun. And, by the way, pointed the weapon at the officer and refused directions to drop the weapon. Saying now that we know there was no robbery or attempted robbery just doesn't change the justification that the officer had to fire at the offender in self defense.


Yes, Bob. But now we have a different version of the facts, don't we. How do you know he was pointing the BB gun at the police officer? That is the point of contention here. It is obvious that if you point a gun at a police officer, he is justified in shooting you. But what if the boy did not point the gun at the officer? What then?

mary-if you or i point any weapon at the general public and rob them-its called armed robbery..its a crime...this 14 yr old kid is lucky he is not dead..he should stop robbing people and he wont get shot...


Point of clarification---police now say it was not a robbery or even an attempted robbery. It was a fight between two groups of boys.

I am so disgusted with alot of the responses to this article. A child has been gunned down once again by a Chicago Police Officer. Alot of you are real good with word play and going around the issue that is at hand.That child could have a made a bad decision but does that really mean he had to put shot down on the street like some wild animal.Yesterday, I read where someone wrote "black people are tired of being tired" but I think that it was said in a sarcastic tone. I remember hearing a speech by Fannie Lou Hamer and she said the same thing. She said it because she had been beaten by police. They damaged her kidney and nearly put her eye out.
Someone who has not gone through being harrassed by the police day in and day out, does not have the right to be upset when those who have complain.No matter how you try to word it, it's racism,racist cops and I do not see it getting any better until some real action is taken. Police put a gun in a senator's face and threatens him, police kicked in doors and went in and murdered two men, sang a song and came outside holding the bag that contained the body, smiling. They were smiling like they had just come back from hunting.
Mind you that these incidents took place nearly 40 years apart. Something is wrong. It is not that mother, father or uncle's fault. It is the police fault because they know they can do this and it will be justified. This just happened to be one of the stories that made the news. People take the blinders off your eyes. See the police department for what it is and for those who are tired, continue the fight, don't give up. Those are our babie's out there and No One is going to look out for them but us.

It's a crime that Burge has not been convicted. He probably did commit the abuse and should be punished. That however doesn't give a 14 year old the right to point a "replica" gun at police with no consequences. 2 wrongs don't make a right. Police brutality should be protested, this case however is no Rodney King or Amadou Diallo. Where are Ellis's parents in all this, why do they let a 14 year old walk the streets with a gun replica? According to your paper, Ellis Woodland Sr. has been arrested 33 times! Yet he is protesting police brutality? The residents of Cabrini Green should fear him more than the police. I'm curious as to how the protesters would act if they were in the same shoe as the Police. If someone pointed a gun at them, would they wait to see if it were real, or would they shot to protect their lives? Assault and brutality is wrong, whether it is committed by the Police or by the residents of Cabrini Green.

You say that:
"Chicago Police spokeswoman has now confirmed that the young man lied about the robbery attempt. The incident started with a fight between two groups of boys."

Funny, last I knew in Chicago a so-called "group" of boys fighting was a gang. It's nice how you dress up (in this case,black) gangbanging thugs.


That's what the police spokesman told me: "boys." Don't believe that--call her yourself.

I'm upset about the picture on the front page of the paper showing a white cop with a smug smirk on his face when confronted by an angry resident. This picture seems to show the attitude of the police.

Ms. Mitchell,

We must stop living in the past. The Chicago police tortured those Black victims long ago. What's done is done. It was truly unfortunate and should never recur. But, to say that Black people do not trust the police because they are constantly mistreated by the police is ludicrous! We should all trust the police regardless to whether they mistreat us or not. A great many Blacks bring the wrath of the police on themselves by acting belligerent. Take Robert Russ who was the football player who grabbed an officer's gun. He incurred the wrath of the police because he was stupid and ignorant. Now should all Black people stop trusting the police because of some fool? The answer is no. We must trust the police because we simply have no other choice. Think about it. If we do not like a certain dry cleaners we can go to a different dry cleaners. However, we cannot choose a different police department. So, we must trust the police. For the most part, police officers are good people. My father is a Chicago police officer and he is a good person. Like he says, some criminals get out of hand. Criminals are not supposed to resist arrest but they frequently do, so, my father handcuffs them and gives them a good kick while they are on the ground. Now is this wrong? Of course it is wrong but is my father not a human being. Is he not subject to whims and emotions? Of course he is human and is subject to whims and emotions. Just like my father should not kick a suspect that is handcuffed on the ground, the suspect should not have resisted arrest. That is the bottom line Ms. Mitchell. Yes, he is a trained professional, however, please do keep in mind that he is also a human being. That is your fundamental quandary Ms. Mitchell, you believe falsely that police are robots who are emotionless! Being a trained professional is only half of it. A trained professional can falter and make poor judgements. Have you always made great judgements in your professional life Ms. Mitchell? I am positive that you have not. Oh! by the way I am an African-American and my father the police officer is an African-American and when he kicks suspects in handcuffs I am quite sure they are African-American too. Does he qualify as a racist police officer? No. He qualifies as a professionally frustrated police officer. Frustrated that his own kind is so uneducated and unbecoming of law abiding citizens. I think this is the problem. Blacks would trust and embrace the police if they first trust and embrace education. Education brings about understanding and wisdom. Why have I not had a horrible experience with the Chicago police yet? Well I believe it is because I know how to behave and act right toward an Illinois licensed peace officer. So, Ms. Mitchell stop bringing up racism and bring up educationism!! It seemed as if I was being sarcastic but I am not. I am serious. The Blacks that give police problems and difficulties are the same people that Dr. Bill Cosby is talking about when he says "I can't even talk like these people saying ain't and cuz and other unacceptable Engish." Blacks are inherently at the bottom of the totem pole due to skin color, the least we can do is try to get educated so that the Whites who hire us can atleast say that even though we have the wrong skin color we have the right intelligence. What do you think Ms. Mitchell?


So how do you explain the black men who were put on death row for crimes they didn't commit. Do you really believe it is ok to torture and lock people up because they are black, poor and uneducated. I hope not.

As for living in the past, where do we draw the line. Should the people who were locked up for decades just move on?


If you can't see if yourself then open your third eye.

As African Americans we have to stand up to the system and process as we are on numerous occasions denied due process because of our color.

The police officer who shot at the 14 year old may be able to justify one shot, but not four.

I don't believe that the teen pointed the gun at the officers and it is procedure for the Officers to order the subject to drop the gun prior to shooting. If the gun was not pointed in the direction of the Officers, there is no justification for the shots.

Police Officer are always in danger. When they walk out of their house in the morning and when they put on the blue uniform, their life is in danger.

For Supt. Cline to justify the shots stating the officer thought he was in danger is not an excuse for four shots.




MITCHELL COMMENT: Does anyone beside me think it is odd that a 14-year-old would point a BB gun at a cop? I mean, did he think the BB gun was going to win out over a real gun?

Again the white community still doesnt get it ,to attack Ms.mitchell for her writing about something that the black community already knows exists(racism and discrimination)reminds me of when Martin Luther King JR.was trying to do something good for everybody he was called alot of derogatory names and blacks were attacked ,castigated and lied on constantly.The issues were spun(he was even said to be a communist by racists)the young boy in Cabrini who was shot was not robbing anybody(policespokeswoman)atemptedto place the BB gun dowm .then was shot how is that attempting to act in a aggressive manor.Many blacks have been tortured by the chicago police ,some killed and guns placed on innocent citizens ,we dont need permission from people like Jerry and others to know the truth,he reminds me of the political spinmeisters who try to spin truth from lies(HOw do we know Burge tortured anyone ?how do we know cops use racist language ?because we live in the communities where it occurs and see it on a daily basis, thats how.Still claiming blacks use the race card is idiotic ,blacks have had the race card played on them for 400 years (how can anybody spin that without looking ridiculous)Anybody being abused by the police is "not" acceptable and the protesters were right to protest seeing now the young man hadnt attempted to rob anyone and by witness accounts was attempting to place the Toy gun(BB)on the ground.If the police want respect they have to give respect to all citizens not just whites they have a hard job and are needed to help prevent/solve crimes.Their was a statement in a earlier post saying only crimnals protest about injustices ,Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. wasnt a criminal but he was villified and spat on,attacked by whites just becaused he wanted equal rights for everyone.Chicago is a great city even though it has a history world wide as being racist(most blacks and non-whites have had to work twice as hard to make it though)I have always said crime and poverty go hand and hand so no matter what area(black or white)there are good and bad,there is money to be made off of crime and poverty that is why the haves are satisfied with the Status Quo,while the have -nots are experiencing such a rough time ,no one is blaming whites or the police for societies social ills but you would like for once to hear the truth(Like when commander O'donnel stated about how he was helped when he had a accident in a black neighborhood (just to have the police when they arrived on the scene use derogatory and obscene language at the very people who assisted him)witnesses verified this .so "before" you state you dont believe Jon Burge tortured anybody,you dont believe cops ues racist comments against minority citizens and especially before you claim the police shot someone(usually minority)because they robbed someone(turned out to be false) and pointed a gun at the police,remember there are two sides to a story and these days.We dont need others permission to see what is going on,if you think its not a joke for your loved one to get shot by police what do you think the families of killed and tortured citizens feel? "All"citizens should be skeptical of the police versions.Not because we hate police but because sometimes its "hard" to distinguish the criminals from the police.

Mary, why not compare this incident to the one involving 3 boys from Elk Grove Village shooting pellet guns that looked like real semi-automatic weapons at classmates and on school property during summer school over in the suburbs? Last I heard, other than expulsion, there was no other form of punishment, even though these kids shot at PEOPLE, the police didn't wanna press charges.

Many of you ask where the community leaders are when there is a black-on-black crime committed? Many times, they are there, helping the family and helping the community but the CAMERAS are not there. It's not newsworthy. The "masses" don't care what blacks are doing to other blacks.

And why is it that so many people seem to get upset when someone wants to talk about race? Racism still exists. It's not as blatant and in your face as it used to be but it's still there. Take of the blinders.

while I agree it's unfair and inaccurate to generalize an entire race for the actions of a few, there is a constant thread I've seen with these incidents -

when confronted by police and told to freeze/put your hands up, pull over, etc. some people choose to instead do something unpredictable which can be interpreted as aggression by a cop who has already been worn down to his or her last nerve.

What is it that's so unclear about how to act around the police? There's no mystery to it, there's no double standard, if a cop tells you to do something and you don't, expect them to overreact.

This is not a race thing. Remember LaTonya Harding years ago who for some inexplicable reason both fled from a routine traffic stop, and then made the choice (and it is a CHOICE) to reach for something shiny instead of keeping her hands where the cop could see them.

The cop that then freaked out and shot her was black. I don't think that cop did anything wrong, quite frankly. Cops don't have the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, and it's not as if people dont' shoot at cops.

What you don't hear in these Cabrini tales is that for many years shooting at cop cars was how gangs got target practice & kept them at a distance - I had a Gangster Disciple tell me this, so don't tell me it didn't happen.

Police brutality is lame beyond belief, but so is expecting them to walk on eggshells and to be able to read minds.

A white friend of mine as a kid got stopped by a cop in the early 80s after he had climbed a neighbor's fence with a realistic toy gun & the neighbor phoned in a 911 call. What did my friend do? What anyone with common sense would, he dropped the gun and stood as still as he could to show he wasn't a threat.

Smarten up, people. Police are the same all around the world, they're on edge, and expecting trouble - that's their job!

Yeah Mary, just like I screen posts, you pick and choose. Go ahead, post my earlier post, I dare you.


Please send your post to my editors. Thanks.

It was Latonya Hagerty not Harding,yeah cops are human and make mistakes,but being racist and torturing blacks is not a mistake.It a systemic thing that is meant to keep us "in Place".The boy that had the BB gun knew it was fake so its hard to believe he thought he was going to shoot it out with the cops,anyway witnesses said he was putting it down when the police shot him 3-4 times.No one had been robbed just any excuse to shoot /torture minorities is okay with some people, remember though "You reap what you sow".

OK so it wasnt a robbery, just a fight were one boy had a real looking gun maybe threating the others with it, so that makes it OK.
Put they blame where it really belongs on the kids parents. Its time to get involved with your kid, know where hes at 7 with whom. If he got a gun, he got a cell phone.

Mary with all of your comments on white police imprisoning poor black men you haven't addressed the case of AARON PATTERSON. Patterson was and is still a thug. Awarded millions of dollars and he still gets locked up for slinging heroin and trying to buy guns....and then he says he was doing it to expose police corruption. Give me a break...Patterson was and is a cold blooded killer, dope dealing gang bangin thug...and now he will rot in prison for the rest of his life....can you comment on this?


You're absolutely not going to get me to use Aaron Patterson as the standard bearer for the wrongfully incarcerated.

Ms. Mitchell,

Of course it's not o.k. to torture and lock people up because they are Black, poor, and uneducated! All I am saying is that being uneducated plays a role a lot of the times when police and Blacks interact. That is all I am saying. Nothing more and nothing less. Also, the people who were locked up for decades should be compensated at a rate of a half million dollars a year for the total number of years that they spent locked up. Since you cannot bring their sanity back the least the state can do is to ensure that they have way more than enough money to live on for the remainder of their adult lives. A paltry $160,000 for 27 years in prison is a gross insult for a man who was found to be innocent of the crime in which he was charged! Let me know what you think Ms. Mitchell.


Obviously, you cannot compensate someone for the loss of freedom and dignity. My main concern is that no one is being held accountable (except the taxpayer) for either shoddy police work or malicious intent in cases where innocent men have been incarcerated for decades.

Geeze Louise when will black people ever take responsibility for the ills we have wrought upon our own people we will never advance as a people until we love trust and honor each other as a former public housing resident who never saw a white person pee in a stairwell do drugs or have sex in them I wonder whose to blame for that? I was nine years of age when the riots happened on the westside and for over thirty years I never saw a piece of paper picked up in the aftermath but as the old temptation song lyric goes ....and the politician say vote for me and ill set you free rap on brother rap on's all hype at the expense of our people and we seem to never learn and as for the reverend preachers and pastors and their primping and posturing in the pimp suits and rainbow snakeskin shoes I say your pretty much worthless that kid was failed by his parents or should I say parent did he deserve to be shot (NO) but he was born into a lifestyle that definately escalated the possiblity

Unfortunately, the Sun-times is more interested in agitating the public by headlines like


One only has to know the illustrious history and background of this childs' family to know that the boy who changed his story from attempted robbery to "just a dispute between two boys" may have did that for health and safety reasons.

On the other hand, regarding the 11 year old child who was shot DEAD in the head by a stray bullet from the gun of a punk -
no outrage, no marches, no confronting the punk gangs, no nothing. Uh, it wuz an accident, so leave the poor gangbanger alone, why dontcha.

The Sun-Times should have headlined this


I will never get the point of why ANY community, regardless of race or ethnicity will tolerate this type of terrorist behavior and have the culprits walk the same streets freely, boldly and proudly, selling their wares.

Anyway, Ed Bone, you're not completely right though not completely wrong. You just see the bad in a group and not any of the good. But that's the way you were programmed, I guess. The Sun-Times does a lot to encourage that by magnifying the bad and minimizing the good. That is what sells newspapers, after all.

First point for the MORONS arguing the reasoning for shooting " Four Shots".
Because that's how you are trained to shoot. There is NO such thing as shooting to wound someone. That's left to SWAT or HBT teams. When someone has a weapon pointed at you, or has committed a violent crime with a weapon, You are trained to shoot until they are no longer a threat. If I shoot you after you pointed your weapon at me, I'm not giving you a chance to fire on me...period. These arguments about excessive are ignorant and to now start to make comments that you don't think he pointed the weapon at Police is not based on anything but race.
Do you know that anything can be fashioned in to a gun. I remember for a while that there were pagers that concealed a 2-shot Deringer in it...A Pager! How about a book that is hollowed out to hold a weapon...Happens everyday.
Furthermore, what did you want that Cop (front page pic) to do when that punk was getting in his face...He was standing his groung in a neighberhood he chooses to defend from it's own people! Maybe you all should do a ride-along with the Police as well as t and see what the Police have to deal with day in and day out! They don't live there yet are willing to work there to protect you all, Idiots!
Now you have the same MORONS attacking people on Milwaukee and Halsted. WOW, What a surprise!!!!
Police your own neighberhood for now on and lets see how you like it.
The black community better wake up because this nonsense will wake a sleeping Lion if you all continue backing idiot criminal punks and not the hardworking people of our communities because they're tired too....Tired of all the double talk and racist biased nonsense coming from the black community. Either we stand together or you all will continue to have these problems in your community. Innocent people of all colors are tired of self pity, Get up, get a job, and Police your community so we can ALL enjoy each other as the brothers and sisters we are....Whether you all like it or not!
My family members and I have all had run ins with the law on very minor levels throughout our lives, Traffic tickets, curfew, walking in a group late at nite, etc.. We never considered to run from them because we knew we'd get it if they caught us. We didn't talk back because what's the point? When a Policeman gives you an order, no matter whether its right or wrong, you follow it and deal with the issue after emotions settle. Unless a Cop was asking something totally out of line, You do what they say. Holding a weapon is not an innocent act. We all no the difference between foolin' around and being a criminal.
Again i'll ask you Mary, When will you speak for the innocent instead of the gangbangers!


I've written enough columns condemning violence and gangbangers in our communities, that I don't have to apologize for advocating fairness.

Black leaders cannot be the only ones held responsible for speaking out against black on black crime. The entire community must do its part to eradicate this horrendous condition. We must do for ourselves and stop relying on others to rid our communities of their social ills.

About your comment regarding the differing stories involving the alleged robbery. You said that we should question the officer's actions because new evidence has been brought to light about whether the other teens were actually robbed. The false story is coming from the other teens, not the police. The police were under the impression that there was an armed robbery because someone told them that they were robbed by someone with a gun. The fact that they weren't is no fault of the officers, it's the fault of whoever lied to them. If we want to add even another level of blame into this whole argument, why not blame the witnesses. Granted, if I'm a cop and someone points a gun at me, it's probably going to end in a shooting, but if someone who I just learned (falsely or not) committed and armed robbery points a gun at me, well then it'll definitely end in a shooting. There have been posts talking about how the residents of the area can't trust the cops, but the truly worrisome truth in this story is that now the cops may not be able to trust the residents.


The clarification about the bogus robbery charge was just that, a clarification.

MITCHELL COMMENT: Does anyone beside me think it is odd that a 14-year-old would point a BB gun at a cop? I mean, did he think the BB gun was going to win out over a real gun?

I personally think that it is extremely odd that the 14-year old pointed the BB gun at the officers. In fact, I don't beleive that that allegation is true only an attempt to justify shooting at him not once, but four times.

Where we come from, whether 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or whatever age, we know that pointing anytype of weapon at a Police Officer could result in our loosing our life. I don't beleive that this intelligent (as his school reports) teenager would risk his life to play with Police Officers who are pointing guns in his direction and pretend as if his gun is real to intimidate the officers.

Another point that has not been clarified is how many officers shot at the teenager?

One police officer apparently shot the teenager multiple times.

It only seems logical that if you point something that looks like a gun at a cop, you will get shot. The kid who got shot is either a thug or a moron. The "protesters" are a bunch of thugs that are just looking for something to complain about. The goal of these protest is to get the Chicago Police out of Cabrini Green for a few weeks. The pimps, gang bangers, and drug dealers want the cops to back of so they can conduct their business without interference. The police department will probably stay out of Cabrini green for a few weeks, until the situation blows over. In the meanwhile rapists and murderers will rule Cabrini Green. Way to go Mr. Hampton Jr, I'm sure your dad would be proud.

MITCHELL COMMENT: Does anyone beside me think it is odd that a 14-year-old would point a BB gun at a cop? I mean, did he think the BB gun was going to win out over a real gun?

You are right Mary the cops are racist. This one was looking for any chance to shoot a 14 year old boy. He thanks god that on a clear day on a sunny afternoon in front of witnesses he was able to find one with a BB gun to shoot down.
Did he really think he would get away with it?


Please don't put your words in my mouth.


... As for living in the past, where do we draw the line. Should the people who were locked up for decades just move on?

No they shouldn't they should have their day in court but the black race should not use the individual injustices as a crutch or excuse for their own behavior.

As for living in the past where does society draw the line? How many riots and angry mobs burning down the westside or LA or Detroit and gangbanging and robberies and crimes must we overlook because blacks were slaves or live in crappy neighborhoods (FYI I grew up in austin it was a great neighborhood when i was there still miss the fresh gonella bread in the morning) or dont have a father or enough money or choose to hangout and skip school deal dope shoot each other etc etc etc etc.

Individual responsibility seems to be the common thread missing in alot of your columns.


Obviously, you haven't read a lot of my columns.

The only mistake the cops made was having Bad Aim!!
You point a gun at someone you die!!! Maybe his friends will learn from this!
Great job just train your guys to aim better.


Please post all of the comments. Stop being selective. I don't see my latest comments. Come on Mary.


Sorry, we all need editors.

The thing that seems to be missing from all of this is the fact that being a young African American male in the this country is dangerous.

Your chance of being killed is roughly 7 or 8 TIMES that of a young white male.

If you are an young African American male and you ARE murdered, according to the stats, it's like a 98.99% probability that your murderer is.....

an African American.

Not a white uniformed law enforcement officer.
Not even close.

The self destructive nature of young African American males is the actual issue here.

The young man who was shot for pointing the gun at a police officer is the "offspring" of a self admitted gang member with 30 some od arrests.

Chilren need role models desperately in Cabrini and many other communities, white, hispanic, asian and other.
When a child is taught from day one that a police officer is BAD and that a gang member is GOOD, the results are a tragedy. African Americans, whether in a poor neighborhood or a wealthy one, who raise their kids to use common sense, respect other people and their property and take personal responsibility for THEIR ACTIONS will not see their child act in the manner this one did.

The general public knows this no matter how the media, including Mary Mitchell, try to spin it.


First, a small clarification. The man with the long rap sheet is the 14-year-old's uncle--not father.

As for spinning the story, why is it when a black kid commits a crime, we are quick to blame bad parenting. What about the parents of the white kids who commit heinous crimes? I've never gotten one e-mail condemning their parents.


I talked to the police spokeswoman and she says there was no robbery attempt or robbery. Apparently, there was a fight between two groups of boys--not a robbery,

Mary by saying this you mislead the reader and make the situation appear more innocuous then it was. There was a report to police that an attempted armed robbery was taking place that is what the police were responding to and that was their mind set going into the crime scene "armed robbery reported".

Relying on your quote of the cpd spokesperson a reader would get the idea cops responded to a group of children arguing and shot one of them. I would be pretty upset myself if that was the case.

Oh by the way I read all your columns and send you thanks for the good ones and let you know how i feel about the others.



No, Patrick. I told my readers exactly what the Chicago Police spokesman told me....I don't know where you're interpreting that as the "cops responded to a group of children arguing and shot one of them."

Oddly enough I agree with both sides ... in a way. First of all I am 28 yr. old black male who grew up in what some would call a bad neighborhood. In my mind the police was justified 100% in shooting the kid, I mean come on he's an idiot. Now this white man who was a witness to the shooting said the kid was trying to put the gun down on the ground and in that case maybe it was'nt right to shoot him but that was the only time I heard that and eveyone else is saying that he turned around and pointed at the police in that case then of course shoot him and anybody who does'nt agree with that regardless of his age are ridiculous. As for the people protesting, I just don't get it. Out of all the negative things that police do where the facts do nothing but point to the police being wrong and they choose this to protest about. This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen. Everytime I hear the news about to say something about them protesting I have to turn it because it enrages me. But at the same time I realize that maybe people are fed up and this was the last straw. I understand what that feels like first hand. I really think this was a bad call regardless. I keep hearing people say if the kid was white this would have never happened, and their right. How often do you hear about white kids that stay in cabrini green pulling guns on police or shooting them. Never because white kids don't stay there and they don't do that. That's not to say there aren't any violent white gangbangers and drug dealers out here, but the cops have to act accordingly to the enviroment that they work in. As I said I grew up with pretty much nothing but gangsters and honestly I still live around a few. I only keep a handful friends who I grew up with around me and they are not ignorant nor troublemakers we are trying to do the right thing by working and staying on the right side of the law. It seems like everyone around us is the exact opposite and honestly, I am soooo fed up with the ignorant stuff I see and hear on a daily basis by young blacks. It's ridiculous how terrible things are becoming. Things have always been kind of bad but NOW! It's just out of control and I don't see know way out. To the other races who are reading this, I know your gonna do what you want but try not to judge us as a group, do what I do and judge people as individuals. Believe it or not a majority of white people I've met in my lifetime were prejudice and I definently don't use the race card... ever nor have I said or done anything to make them feel negatively about me, considering that I conduct myself respectively towards everyone. Also some of the nicest people I've ever met were white. Now if ALL of the white people I ever met were prejudice a treated me horribly, then maybe I would be prejudice as well.. But if you met one good black person in your life light skinned, dark skin, young, or old just know that there are millions more out there just like us and we hate ignorance just like you.

I think I understand your the point you were making. Were you statng that the the community is just tired of being harassed by the police and therefore there is no trust in them?
Well, lets turn the tables around. How many times do police go into that neighborhood to respond to a call and get shot at or rocks thrown at them? How many people are getting robbed, raped and killed? There is nothing but crime there. Do ya think the police are going to trust a 14 year old who probably has the street smarts of a 20 something (or anyone for that matter) and ask first if he has a gun? Listen. The police risk their lives EVERYDAY especially the ones going into these crime infested neighborhoods. The people they are trying to protect are the ones throwing things at them.
The police should be COMMENDED NOT CONDEMMED

I myself am a black man that grew up in the projects and I feel the police were completely justified for the move that they was proper police procedure and I feel like they should not have to justify themselves for using wht they were taught. This kid was a multiple that had been arrested 33 TIMES. This kid was no victim. He was wronge for what he did. And I feel that as black people we need to learn when and who to protest for. I grew up in the ghetto being harassed by kids like this who did nothing but made my life a living hell. I was Jumped by kids like this. I was one of those kids who had to plan a route home. This is no product of poverty. This is a product of sheer ignorence and people trying to shift the blame on some one else instead of taking responsibility. Where were the protest when I was batter by these "Ghetto Hoods"? Where was the protest when I spent my bus ride worrying if some one would attack me for no reason at all ?....Where were the protest then? Why wasn't Cabrini Green in my defence. Where was Englewood when my I got chase home. Where were they when I had to hide in an abandoned building for hours until these DICKS decided that I wasn't worth the searching. Where was my people then. Where's the love for the true victim. Where were the news crews. I'm a proud college student now. And I grew up in "The Green's " and "The Dirty Lowe" but you won't see Jesse Jackson at my side. I'm just considered a " wannabe white boy " or an " Uncle Tom " for trying to better my life.
Where's my protesters ?


Wrong. The kid's uncle had the long rap sheet. The 14-year-old was described by his teachers and others as being a good kid. I run into college-educated black men everyday. In fact, I'm at the NABJ convention in Indianapolis and there are hundreds of educated, gainfully employed black men and no one's calling them an Uncle Tom or wannabe.

Pamela Grace brought up a good point. Where are the 'black leaders' when children were being killed in Englewood? Afterall, the same 'black leaders' will fly across the country (ex ; Lou Rawls funeral) when a celebrity dies. Or even the world for that matter. But should instead show-up and express their outrage at the neighborhood child's funeral. And why haven't the columnists who point fingers at others challenge these leaders on this?


Check the archives.

I read many of Ms. Mitchell's columns and I must say this. The police have this code you have probably heard of it,"Code of Silence". I believe that Ms. Mitchell brought up Jon Burge because it's a prime example of who corrupt Police are. But there were a lot of "Jon Burges" long before the 80's. Like for instance J. Edgar Hoover. The man who allegedly single handedly took down the Black Panthers. I wasn't around in the 50's or the 60's but I was a kid in the 70's and I remember Police harrassing people for no reason. Just because a person has a criminal background, it doesn't mean the police have the right to harass that person meaning that where I'm from, if anything goes wrong in the neighborhood the police look for you if you have had a run in or 2 with them. I'm from the Humboldt Park neighborhood and although it has calmed down a lot around there, The people still have to worry about the police more so than the gangbangers.

The "bad" are the minority whether it's the police force, the black community or the white community.
Ms Mitchell your arguement fails for that purpose.
The shooting, from what I can tell, was justified, it had no relationship to the other things you mentioned.
That kind of arguement is false and only makes you look like a instigator (much like the folks that organized the march).

If you want to be treated right you have to act right. It is not going to work all the time, but it will most of the time. Everyone you meet is not a racist, so don't treat them like one.

"I'm from the Humboldt Park neighborhood and although it has calmed down a lot around there, The people still have to worry about the police more so than the gangbangers."

Say what? WHICH people, exactly?

I have a friend who grew up in Logan Square/Humboldt and he was harassed so much by his fellow hispanics for not joining the gang that he ended up committing suicide.

Don't give me this "the cops make the neighborhood unsafe" b.s.

Jon Burge is horrible ! No arguement from me on that...But guess what you same folks who are crying the most about Burge in your replys are the same folks who will vote for the politicians who KNEW how bad he was when he was on the force. Bottom line: You will vote the party line no matter what. Oh yeah, the 2 politicians who absolutely had to know about Burge's gestapo practices were then States Atty. Rich Daley and his asst. Dick Devine.

How many times have the police been involved in a shooting that was not justified.Almost always it come out in the cop's favor.I'm fearful of thugs and bad cops.In som instances they are the same.Recently we've had some cops go to jail for robbing drug dealers and various rouge acts.They were black and white cops. I think a lot of the logs from people who are white only put a white face on the police.Their dad and uncle Pete were cops.Some of them had run-ins with black people and they feel they were justified because "if dad and uncle Pete said they deserved it,they deserved it".That isn't always true.Some people are jack asses,black and white.Some people believe anything anyone tell them.We are at war in Iraq because "They" say that Iraq is a threat.So many people believed that then,how many believe that now?I was a military police- man for 3 years.I had so many hillbilly partners who couldn't stand black people, for no reason,and I had to trust them with my life.That' stupid.That's why they couldn't pay me enough to be a Chicago cop.As a black cop who could I trust?

I feel what you were saying Ed Bone, but on the other side of that, I think the point needs to be made that we are sometimes more willing to think of children in our communities who exhibit psychopathic behavior as being dispensible. Instead of taking action on the front end we sit and tsk tsk tsk, wag our fingers and shake our heads. Why have we allowed young punks to dominate our neighborhoods and our comings and goings? Why have our communications with the police been post-crisis? Why do we allow generation after generation of kids to grow up the way that they do? I know it's more than a notion but we gotta work more closely and more deliberately with these babies from the outset, so that young punks like the child (YES CHILD) who got shot (God bless him in recovery) does not continue to be THE role model.
I see cats who are obviously living elicitly (how else could they afford leather Avirex coats while standing outside of buildings all day) and they are the ones buying the little kids candy and handing out dollars and chattting the kids up as we "go about our business."
The point? We have to show some interest in kids all-up-and-through the community. Talk to them about alternatives.

Black folks Im tired too. It's getting more and more ridiculous so we have to be more proactive and deliberate about how we relate to our kids and our communities. If we only react in crisis our kids will respond the same way. We have to be equally indignant about our own shortcomings. And we have to do these things, not so white people will feel safe in our communities or so stereotypes about us won't prevail but because we need to feel safe and all that good stuff.

"I am because we are"
-African adage

"The We in You is the people calling"
-Haki Madhubuti

"Black love is Black wealth"
-Nikki Giovanni

The kid may have been a good kid but he was also a very stupid kid to have pointed a gun- even a fake one at anybody. If he had pointed it at me he might have got shot too and I am not a cop. Nobody wants to shoot a kid and no doubt the cop is praying to God that the kid will survive but there was just no way around this. And the fact it happened in Cabrini has nothing to do with it. The same thing would have happened anywhere.

Don't mean know disrespect to anybody who read this comment.
Im 22 year older female who also live in Cabrini Green Development. Reading people comment and response don't change the fact that what the police officer did to that little boy. You just don't know what my people in Cabrini Green going thought right now! All people that liveed in Cabrini Green Development isnt' BAD POEPLE. I just tired of people stereotypes all African American. For you Ms. Mitchell to make commemt on the little boy uncle having a rap sheet dosen't justified a child got shot by a police officer.


Blacks who have jobs and work for a living remarkably seem to be able to avoid negative encounters with the police. Blacks, or whites for that matter, who hang out on the street acting like morons do.

I am tired of the police being blamed every time they encounter some fool with a fake or real gun who is running around on the street without a purpose in life.

The people in the Cabrini area who are having problems with the police need to learn how to behave in a more civilized manner to avoid problems with government.

I would like to see Cook County dynamite that Cabrini Eye Sore and allow that neighborhood to prosper economically. Housing projects are just a breeding ground for gangs and people collecting welfare. Cabrini scares tons of business away from that area annually. Imaging how nice that area would be if that derelict of a building was no longer there.

Stickney, Illinois

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on August 9, 2006 8:09 PM.

The Dilemma was the previous entry in this blog.

A Neighborhood Responds to a Cop in Trouble is the next entry in this blog.

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