Typically, we don’t give much thought to who is the owner of the companies that produce the products we use. From toothpaste to mouthwash, soap to laundry detergent, bathroom products, and all the other products we use on a daily basis, all are made by companies that were started by entrepreneurs with an idea to solve a problem or make life a little easier. And guess what? Some of these entrepreneurs are African American.
#1 – Toilet Paper
Freedom Paper Company – headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, this Black-owned manufacturer and distributor produces economical bathroom tissue for both residential and commercial use. Privately owned and founded by CEO Kamose Muhammad, they also produce economical paper towels, paper products and dispensers.
#2 – Mouthwash
Garner’s Garden – Based in Fort Washington, MD, this Black-owned company makes 100 percent all natural body care products, including mouthwash and lip balm, organic hand soap and body wash, hand and foot creams, hair care products, and facial cleansers and oils. Their extensive product line can be ordered online.
#3 – Laundry Detergent
The True Products – Based in Atlanta, Georgia-based, this company is owned by 3 African American founders who are all experienced entrepreneurs. Their unique, eco-friendly laundry detergent can be purchased online or through distributors located across Georgia and several other states.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoWashington Post
At a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday, Trump mused: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired.’ ”
Jackson Lee, who represents central Houston, demanded to know which NFL player’s mother Trump was insulting.
“That is racism,” Jackson Lee said during a special order of the Congressional Black Caucus. “You cannot deny it.”
Then Jackson Lee took a knee.
“I kneel in honor of them,” she said. ” . . . I kneel because the flag is a symbol of freedom. I kneel because I am going to stand against racism.”
Virtually all NFL players who appeared on the sidelines Sunday locked arms, some standing, some kneeling, in response to Trump’s campaign to “fire or suspend” players who kneel during the national anthem and, on Sunday morning, his call to boycott the NFL entirely. The president’s stance — which he adamantly defended Monday on Twitter — has been widely rebuked by the league, owners and players.
He also pushed back against the idea that his opposition to the NFL and its kneeling players was about race.
On Monday, Jackson Lee and the Congressional Black Caucus joined the chorus of criticism. Jackson Lee previously called on Trump to resign following his sexist attack on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who he said was “bleeding badly from a facelift.”
“There is no basis in the First Amendment that says you cannot kneel on the national anthem or in front of the flag,” she said. “There is no regulation that says these young men cannot stand against the dishonoring of their mothers.”
Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a fellow member of the Congressional Black Caucus, also spoke out against Trump’s comments on Monday, saying that “young people kneeling today are following a long tradition,” referencing civil rights leaders’ tradition of kneeling in protest.
“During another period, we knelt,” Lewis wrote in second tweet. “There is nothing wrong with kneeling down to stand up against injustice. It’s protected by the Constitution.”
Earlier Monday, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, condemned Trump’s attack on the NFL and Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling during the 2016 preseason to protest police treatment of African Americans.
Richmond also called for a stronger rebuke of the president. He said he had read more than a dozen statements from owners and coaches about Trump’s “petty and prejudiced attack,” but none of them addressed the root cause of Kaepernick and others’ protest.
“They are taking a knee to protest police officers who kill unarmed African-Americans — men and women, adults and children, parents and grandparents — with impunity,” Richmond said. “They are taking a knee to protest a justice system that says that being black is enough reason for a police officer to fear for his or her life.”
In the NFL, he said, 70 percent of players are black, which means they and their families and friends have “experienced racial profiling by police that leaves too many unarmed African Americans injured or dead.”Post Views: 275
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
There’s a map, made more than 150 years ago using 1860 census data, that pops up periodically on the internet. On two yellowed, taped-together sheets of paper, the counties of the Southern U.S. are shaded to reflect the percentage of inhabitants who were enslaved at the time. Bolivar County, Mississippi, is nearly black on the map, with 86.7 printed on it. Greene County, Alabama: 76.5. Burke, Georgia: 70.6. The map is one of the first attempts to translate U.S. census data into cartographic form and is one of several maps of the era that tried to make sense of the deep divisions between North and South, slave states and free.1
The map, which depicts census data, had political motivations, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was drawn by pro-Union government officials who wanted to create a visual link between secession and slavery.
But the reason the map resurfaces so frequently is not just its historical relevance. Rather, it’s because the shading so closely matches visualizations of many modern-day data sets. There is the stream of blue voters in counties on solidly red land in the 2016 presidential election, or differences in television viewing patterns. There’s research on the profound lack of economic mobility in some places, and on life expectancy at birth.
On major health metrics in the U.S., the shaded counties on the antebellum map still stand out today. Maps of the modern plagues of health disparities — rural hospital closings, medical provider shortages, poor education outcomes, poverty and mortality — all glow along this Southern corridor. (There are other hot spots, as well, most notably several Native American reservations.
Despite a scarcity of data, Native American health disparities are well documented, as are rampant poverty, unemployment and low educational attainment. According to the Indian Health Service, the life expectancies for Native Americans are 4.4 years shorter than those of the U.S. population as a whole.
) The region, known as the Black Belt, also features clearly on a new interactive created by FiveThirtyEight using mortality projections from researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The projections show that, while mortality is declining nationally, including among those who live in the Black Belt, large disparities in outcomes still exist. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be looking at some of the causes of these disparities in the Black Belt and talking to the communities they affect.
Though these health outcomes are associated with race, race is not the cause of disease. “There are certain genetic factors, of course,” said Ali Mokdad, one of the IHME researchers, who previously oversaw one of the largest public health surveys in the U.S. “But … we like to say, ‘Diseases don’t know race.’” Instead, Mokdad said things such as racism, economic deprivation and poor education — measures that together are part of what is called socioeconomic status — are largely to blame.
The Black Belt was the origin and center of not only Black America, but also of rural Black America. Today, more than 80 percent of rural black Americans live in the states that form the Black Belt. Black men in the region routinely have mortality rates 50 percent higher than the national average.
In 1860, when 76.5 percent of the people in Greene County were enslaved, the entire population totaled more than 30,000. Today, the county has less than a third the number of people it did back then, but blacks still constitute more than 80 percent.
The Rev. Christopher Spencer is tall and thickly built with a bald head and narrow-rimmed glasses. His presence is large, but never more so than when he’s swaying in church robes, preaching on a Sunday morning. His church, St. Matthew Watson Missionary Baptist, is tucked away in a clearing in the woods of Greene County, just off a country stretch of U.S. Highway 43 and about 30 miles from where he grew up.
The church, which recently celebrated its centennial, still has about 130 members despite the shrinking of the area’s population. Preaching is Spencer’s passion, but he also works as a director of community development at the University of Alabama, helping recruit people for studies and pushing for jobs and opportunities in the Black Belt.
The Black Belt moniker first referenced the rich, fertile soil that millions of African slaves were forced to work, their labor making the European settlers some of the wealthiest people in the world. By the turn of the 20th century, the name had come to identify rural counties with a high percentage of African-American residents. “The term seems to be used wholly in a political sense. That is, to designate counties where the black people outnumber the white,” wrote Booker T. Washington in his 1901 book, “Up From Slavery: An Autobiography.”
The Black Belt is filled with complicated realities. It was the center of the civil rights movement but still has some of the most consistently segregated schools in the country. White Europeans wanting to reap from its verdant soil forced millions of slaves to the area, but today healthy food is hard to find. Deeply rooted social networks tie people to the land and community, but poverty and racism led millions to leave the area in one of the largest internal migrations in human history.
Reporters often illuminate the problems of the U.S. health care system by looking to outliers, the least healthy places, such as the state of Mississippi or a parish in Louisiana. That makes sense; states and local governments are largely responsible for the education, insurance, hospitals and economics that drive health outcomes. But in the case of the Black Belt, those borders obscure the broader pattern: rural, Southern black Americans who live in communities founded on slavery routinely have some of the worst health outcomes in the country.
Some recent media coverage has focused on a disturbing rise in mortality among U.S. whites with a high-school education. A much-publicized series of papers by Anne Case and Angus Deaton showed that mortality for whites with a high school education or less is increasing and included a chart showing that it is now greater than mortality for blacks. The rise in mortality made headlines and is a concerning trend worthy of study, but the headlines obscured several important facts, chief among them that the chart showed mortality for all U.S. blacks, not only those who also have a high school education or less. After the authors were criticized for leaving blacks off a different chart in one of the papers, they told The Washington Post “the reason it’s not there — which we explain — is that black mortality is so high it doesn’t fit on the graph.”
In other words, the trends — an increase in mortality for some whites, a decrease for most blacks — are important, but so are the absolute differences, and blacks continue to die younger than people in other groups.
Greene County, home to St. Matthew, is fairly typical in Alabama’s Black Belt: 55 percent of children live in poverty, and the unemployment rate is 10.6 percent, more than double the national rate. There are primary care physicians in Eutaw but residents say they must travel to distant Tuscaloosa for most specialty care.
Calvin Knott drives the 12 miles from his home in Forkland, in the southern part of the county, to attend church at St. Matthew. After decades working at the area’s power company, he’s spending his retirement driving a bus that takes people to and from medical appointments in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Most of the passengers are on Medicaid, he said. The insurance program for low-income people will pay the cost of transportation to some appointments, but Knott said he knows a lot of other people without insurance who just don’t go to the doctor.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand their Medicaid programs to include everyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, but only two of the states that form the Black Belt, Louisiana and Arkansas, chose to do so. Knott finds that disappointing. “It wouldn’t benefit me, but I’d be happy for my taxes to go to helping other people,” Knott said.
Experts say a long history of racism and poverty has left the region short on resources and high on risk factors. Smoking and poor diets, for example, likely contribute to many causes of mortality. But, many experts argue that these so-called lifestyle factors shouldn’t simply be viewed as choices people make that keep them unhealthy and that they’re only a small part of the bigger picture.
Late last year, Army veteran Jimmy Edison stood up at St. Matthew and asked the congregation to pray for him. He was having another procedure in Tuscaloosa that week, something related to the open-heart surgery he’d had several years before. The church had been supportive in recent years, sending food to the house and praying for him and his wife, Dionne, after Jimmy’s heart trouble started, and they’d been moved by the warmth of the congregation to become members. After the service, Edison listed the bad habits that had led to his heart condition. He’d started drinking heavily on his days off in the Army, smoked since he was a teenager and always been a self-declared troublemaker who lived life hard.
After a 2010 heart attack, Jimmy’s drinking was so bad that he said they gave him beer at the VA hospital, afraid he’d get delirium tremens. Even so, he said his diet was the hardest habit to change. “I was a prolific drinker and smoker, and I had no problem giving that up. But the fried food, that’s the real problem,” Edison said. Sitting in the fellowship hall after the service, he described in glorifying detail the fried pork chops he missed so dearly, before explaining that his mother had also suffered from hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases. That family history has him convinced that there’s a genetic factor to his heart disease, though his diet and drinking likely made things worse. “It was like, I knew I was at risk, but I chose to play Russian roulette. I can’t say I didn’t know,” Edison said.
The stress that evolves from years of social disadvantage can reinforce a host of habits that are contributing to the highest incidence of diabetes and obesity in the country, said Alana Knudson, co-director of the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC, a research organization based at the University of Chicago. Food is “how you self-medicate. Sometimes we talk about people like they are doing this to themselves. But the reality is a lot of these people have endured some pretty challenging situations.”
Cultural norms play a role as well, and residents of the Black Belt are less likely to get regular exercise than people just about anywhere else in the country. Some of this is environmental: Humid, 100-degree summer days combined with intermittent electricity make it hard to do much of anything, let alone go for a walk. Monika Safford, a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, spent 12 years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researching diabetes and heart disease. She said that in surveys she’s done in the Black Belt, many people respond that they get no exercise whatsoever on most days. “It was common when we were doing trials for people to tell us they drove down the driveway to get their mail,” Safford said.
People in the Black Belt don’t have higher mortality rates for every cause of death, but the causes that disproportionately affect them are telling. A growing body of research has found that generations of economic and social disadvantage can increase the risk of neonatal mortality. As extremely effective treatments for HIV were developed, mortality related to AIDS plummeted across the country, but it remains higher in the Black Belt than in most other places (as does HIV prevalence).
And cervical cancer, largely preventable, is more prevalent and deadlier in the region than in the nation at large.
Down the road from St. Matthew, Doreen Smith lives in a trailer left to her by her grandparents. She went to a doctor in Demopolis in 1992 when she was pregnant with her first child at age 16 and has taken each of her children to him since. She’s been told that to get prenatal care, she needs to go to Tuscaloosa, but with only intermittent access to a car, she said that’s always been too far. “Oh no, I’m not going all the way to Tuscaloosa.
As a result, prenatal vitamins and the occasional checkup are the only care she’s received for most of her pregnancies, she said. Both teenage pregnancy and lack of prenatal care are considered risk factors for low-birthweight babies and other health concerns. But some studies have found that prenatal care doesn’t explain racial disparities in infant mortality, which is higher among newborns of middle-age black women than it is for newborns of white teenagers. Poverty, stress and trauma, as part of the cumulative health of a mother before and after birth, likely also factor into pregnancy outcomes.
But health in the Black Belt hasn’t been stagnant. While infant mortality is higher there than almost anywhere in the country, it’s a fraction of what it was a few decades ago. The same goes for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. Those improvements are attributed to several changes, including desegregation, better housing and education. In fact, one of the most robust literatures on the effects of racism on health comes from improvements to infant mortality among black babies after desegregation. Government programs have also played a role, namely the birth of the community health center movement and Medicaid, which was created in 1965 to cover pregnant women, children and people with disabilities. Both government efforts coincided with the civil rights movement and other programs that sought to undo the effects of racism and poverty throughout the country, particularly the rural South.
But there is still a lot of need today. Spencer is trying to tackle it from two angles: helping people change their habits and working to stabilize and improve struggling rural hospitals. They are long-standing issues, but he remains hopeful they can change. “We just really have to galvanize interest in the area,” he said.
In several upcoming articles, we’ll detail the complicated history of safety-net programs, such as Medicaid, in the area and illustrate how lack of access to health care continues to be an issue. Improving health in the Black Belt means recognizing the root causes: persistent poverty and lack of economic mobility, the challenges of living in rural America and a changing economic landscape that requires better education. It will also mean wrestling with social demons, including some that go back centuries.
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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Every five days, on average, a Chicago police officer fired a gun at someone.
In 435 shootings over a recent six-year span, officers killed 92 people and wounded 170 others.
While a few of those incidents captured widespread attention, they occurred with such brutal regularity — and with scant information provided by police — that most have escaped public scrutiny.
Now, after months of struggles with Chicago police to get information through the Freedom of Information Act, the Chicago Tribune has compiled an unprecedented database of details of every time police fired a weapon from 2010 through 2015.
Analysis of that data revealed startling patterns about the officers who fired and the people they shot at.
Among the findings:
•At least 2,623 bullets were fired by police in 435 shootings. In 235 of those incidents, officers struck at least one person; in another 200 shootings, officers missed entirely.
•About four out of every five people shot by police were African-American males.
•About half of the officers involved in shootings were African-American or Hispanic.
•The officers who fired weren’t rookies but, on average, had almost a decade of experience.
•Of the 520 officers who fired their weapons, more than 60 of them did so in more than one incident.
•The number of shootings by police — hits and misses — declined over the six years, from more than 100 in 2011 to 44 in 2015.
The analysis comes at a time when police in Chicago and throughout the country face heightened scrutiny after several controversial police shootings, often of minorities, have been captured on video and gone viral.
The Tribune’s study encompasses high-profile cases such as the McDonald scandal as well as scores of incidents that were not caught on video and received little or no attention. It begins on New Year’s Day 2010 with a teen shot in the stomach while handcuffed to a security fence in the Park Manor neighborhood. It ends six years later, on the day after Christmas 2015, when an officer wounded an armed suspect on the Far South Side.
For years, examining the full scale of the problem in Chicago was impossible because the city refused to release most details about police-involved shootings. Before the release last year of the video of Laquan McDonald’s killing brought pressure for transparency, the only information made public in the hours after a shooting came in comments from a police union spokesman at the scene and perhaps a short statement from the Police Department. As investigations dragged on for months or years, the details remained hidden.
The data on officer shootings were released to the Tribune only after a seven-month battle with the city over its failure to fulfill public records requests. The department finally produced the data in July after the Tribune threatened to sue. Reporters then spent weeks comparing the data with information that was gathered earlier this year from the city’s police oversight agency as well as with other records, including autopsies and court records.
To be sure, policing the city’s most dangerous streets can be harrowing. Nearly 6,000 illegal guns have been seized in the city so far this year — a staggering amount of firepower that far outpaces other big cities. The dangers were on display in graphic detail earlier this month when the department released dramatic dashboard-camera video of officers being shot at while pursuing a carjacking suspect in their squad cars on the South Side. One officer suffered a graze wound to his face.
“As a police officer, you don’t wait for the shot to come in your direction,” Dean Angelo Sr., president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, told the Tribune recently about the database findings. “You might not get a chance to return fire.”
But for many of those who live in the largely African-American communities where police most often open fire, the narrative of self-defense seems like a familiar script.
At a recent rally protesting police shootings, Charles Jenkins, a 61-year-old community activist who has spent his entire life on the city’s West Side, said he believes race plays a role in how authorities investigate shootings by police.
“It’s easier to believe, because they’re black, that an officer was in fear of their life and get(s) off,” he said
Those shot by Chicago police ranged in age from early teens to the elderly, the records show. The youngest, Dejuan Curry, was 14 when he was wounded in the leg in August 2015 after police said he refused to drop a weapon he held in his hand as he ran. A federal lawsuit is pending against Victor Razo, the officer who allegedly fired the shots. The Tribune’s records show that Razo was involved in two other shootings between 2010 and 2015.
The eldest victim, Hazel Jones-Huff, 92, was wounded when off-duty Officer Courtney Hill opened fire during a quarrel between neighbors, killing Jones-Huff’s 86-year-old husband. Jones-Huff was charged with battery for allegedly going after the officer with a broom, but a judge later acquitted her of all counts.
The records show the shootings in which a civilian was injured or killed were concentrated in a handful of high-crime police districts, all with largely African-American populations.
Leading the list was the Gresham District, which had 30 police shootings in which someone was injured or killed in the six-year span. Next were two other South Side districts — Englewood with 27 and Grand Crossing with 18. The Calumet and Harrison districts on the West Side each had 17, according to the records.
By contrast, the Jefferson Park and Near North districts, which have majority-white populations, each had four police shootings over the six years. The Town Hall District, which includes part of Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, the rest of Lakeview, Lincoln Square and part of Uptown, had none, the data show.
The officers who shot
From the data, the Tribune was able to identify the race of 300 of the 324 officers who opened fire in shootings that resulted in injuries or death.
Although white officers make up a larger portion of the police force, they don’t shoot citizens at a higher rate. Hispanic officers, meanwhile, make up only 19 percent of Chicago’s police force but fired in 26 percent of officer-involved shootings.
A little more than half of the officers who fired shots at people were minorities — 84 Hispanics (28 percent) and 69 blacks (23 percent). White officers made up 45 percent of the total — 136 officers in all. The other officers were listed as Asian/Pacific Islander.
The officers also tended to be experienced, not rookies who suddenly found themselves in over their heads. The records show officers who have shot at citizens had an average of about nine years on the job.
Not surprisingly, 87 percent of the police officers who fired their guns in fatal or nonfatal shootings were on duty, the analysis found. Yet that meant 31 shootings involved off-duty officers who wounded or killed people.
Over the six-year period, 520 officers fired a gun at a citizen. The force generally has about 12,000 members. But the Tribune found that 64 of them were involved in at least two separate shootings.
Several of the repeat shooters have been featured in Tribune stories in recent years. At least two of them, Marco Proano and Gildardo Sierra, have been the targets of criminal investigations by the FBI, although no charges have been filed against either.
Proano, who remains on the force on paid desk duty, killed a teenager during a struggle outside a South Side dance party in 2011, then was captured two years later on dashboard camera video cocking his gun sideways and firing into a car full of teens as it drove away, wounding two. Sierra was profiled in the Tribune in 2011 after he was involved in three shootings, two of them fatal, during a six-month span. Sierra resigned from the department last year.
In the past, the Independent Police Review Authority has not tracked officers involved in multiple shootings if the shootings were deemed justified.
Guglielmi, the police spokesman, said the department is now developing an early intervention system to identify and mentor officers who may be at risk, including officers who were recently involved in a shooting or other high-stress situation. The system “will not be designed to be punitive” but will function more as a “risk management” plan to get to an officer’s issues before they manifest on the street, he said.
Officers who have fired their weapons in multiple incidents also avoided public scrutiny in part because the police union contract bars the department from identifying officers after a shooting. In most cases, no information about the officers involved was ever made public unless a lawsuit was filed — and even then the city typically fought in court to keep records sealed.
Meanwhile, the Independent Police Review Authority’s investigations of officer-involved shootings often included testimony and reports from other officers who backed up one another’s accounts — a “code of silence” that has been criticized for years.
In all but a handful of shootings that IPRA investigated over the six-year span, the agency ruled the officers were justified in their use of deadly force.
The Tribune’s analysis showed that Chicago police are the only witnesses listed in most of the shootings, with civilian witnesses identified in just 83 of the incidents.
Alexa Van Brunt, an attorney with Northwestern University’s Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, said it’s often challenging to prove misconduct or a cover-up when it comes to an officer’s word against that of a civilian.
“We don’t have video evidence often,” Van Brunt said. “And if you have police officers lying on reports, that becomes the official record.”
‘He put me in that position’
No officer has fired at citizens more during the time period examined by the Tribune than Tracey Williams, an African-American tactical officer with nearly a decade on the job.
Over five years, Williams fired her gun five different times in various neighborhoods throughout the city — from North Lawndale to Fuller Park, the Tribune analysis shows.
Each time, she fired at a black male. The targets ranged in age from 17 to 45. One died, one survived with a gunshot to the leg and three others were not hit.
The only investigation to capture public attention involved the Dec. 4, 2010, killing of Ontario Billups in the South Side’s Gresham neighborhood.
Billups, 30, was sitting in an idling minivan with two friends in the 8100 block of South Ashland Avenue when Williams and her partner pulled up in an unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe, according to IPRA records.
In a statement she later gave to investigators, Williams said the car looked suspicious so she shined a spotlight into the van and ordered the occupants to show their hands. She was running up to the passenger side of the vehicle with her gun drawn when she said she saw Billups with a “dark object” in his hand.
“He turns,” Williams said. “As he’s turning towards me quickly his hand is coming out quickly with this dark object. I immediately fire a shot.”
Billups was shot once in the chest and died. The dark object turned out to be a bag of marijuana. Even though Billups was unarmed, Williams defended her use of force in her interview with IPRA investigators.
“His actions led to my actions,” she said. “He put me in that position.”
Meanwhile, Williams remained on the street. In one six-month period, from July 2012 to January 2013, the officer fired her gun in three separate incidents but missed. The next year, she wounded an armed 17-year-old boy in the leg. A review of that incident is pending, though most of the records have been sealed by IPRA and the Police Department because the boy was a minor.
In November, the city agreed to pay $500,000 to settle an excessive force lawsuit brought by Billups’ family. That brought the total cost to $643,000 for taxpayers to settle four lawsuits related to Williams since 2010, court records show.
The Tribune’s analysis found that most of the officers involved in multiple shootings over the six years were involved in two each.
Holding a socket wrench
The data compiled by the Tribune show how police calls turned into confrontations — ranging from seemingly benign calls such as trespass or drinking in the public way to extremely dangerous situations such as hostage standoffs or gang shootings.
Police released information about why officers were initially at the scene in 185 shootings over the six-year period. About a third of the incidents — 63 in total — began with officers responding to a report of shots fired or a person with a gun, according to the data. Fifteen shootings happened after police responded to a report of a robbery.
At least 40 shootings began with a traffic or street stop, either because of an alleged violation or after officers stopped and questioned a group congregated in public. In more than a third of the stops, officers gave chase on foot, pursuing suspects through residential backyards, alleys or over fences before opening fire, the data show.
In statements issued by police after the shootings, six of every 10 cited a suspect either pointing a gun or shooting at police as the reason officers opened fire. But of the 74 autopsy reports reviewed by the Tribune, at least 11 showed the shooting victims had been struck only in their back, buttocks or back of the head. The data show police also shot people who wielded other types of weapons, including knives — such as in the McDonald case — but also tire irons, screwdrivers, baseball bats and crowbars. In some cases, the gun police thought they saw turned out to be something else entirely — a wrench or a watch, a cellphone box or wallet.
Georgia Utendhal comforts one of her granddaughters, whose 16-year-old brother was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in the 8700 block of South Morgan Street in Chicago on July 5, 2014.Post Views: 372