Chicago police fatally shoot two black persons

CHICAGO • Police in Chicago fatally shot a man and a woman, both black, setting off a new flurry of questions about a department already under intense scrutiny.

News releases from the department said officers were answering a call about a domestic disturbance early Saturday morning when they were "confronted by a combative subject, resulting in the discharging of the officer's weapon". The woman was "accidentally struck", the police said.

The authorities provided few other details, but family members of those killed said the shootings raised concerns about how officers are trained to handle people with mental illnesses and about the use of weapons when people uninvolved in a confrontation may be nearby.

The police arrived at the residence after a relative reported that Mr Quintonio LeGrier, 19, was behaving oddly and carrying a metal bat around the second- floor unit where his father lived.

Mr LeGrier, who, according to his mother, was a college student experiencing mental health problems, was fatally shot.

Ms Bettie Jones, who was 55 and a first-floor tenant, was also fatally shot, apparently by accident, as she tried to answer a shared front door for the officers. On Saturday night, the department extended "its deepest condolences to the victim's family and friends".

Ms Jones' brother said she may have been standing near Mr LeGrier as shots were fired.

"None of this needed to happen," Mr Melvin Jones said. "And they say there will be an investigation into the shooting? I already know how that will turn out. We all know how that will turn out. When is this going to end?"

The practices of the Chicago Police Department, the second-largest in the United States after New York City's, are the subject of a Justice Department review after the release last month of a video showing a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald last year.

The video, which the city fought for months to keep private, set off weeks of protests over race and policing. It prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove the chiefs of the police force and of the city's Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings. The authority, which has found claims of wrongdoing against officers to be valid in only two police shootings out of more than 400 since 2007, is reviewing the latest case, the police said.

An authority spokesman said an investigation was in progress and that it would be premature to provide further details.

The police department did not reveal the identities or races of the officers involved.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2015, with the headline 'Chicago police fatally shoot two black persons'. Print Edition | Subscribe