Deadly police shootings, News

Woman shot to death by police worked to better her neighborhood

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Bettie Jones was a member of Action Now. One its leaders is a retired Chicago police officer

By Frederick H. Lowe

When a cop shot and killed Bettie Jones, he killed one of the better friends Chicago police had in the 15th District on the city’s West Side where she lived.

Jones was an active member of Action Now, Chicago’s largest African-American community organization that works to improve conditions in the East Garfield Park neighborhood and around the city. Charles Brown, Action Now’s treasurer, is a former Chicago police officer. He retired from the CPD after serving 23 years.

The organization’s members protest police violence in the African-American community. They also focus on economic issues, such as raising the minimum wage in Chicago to $15 per hour, home foreclosures and school closings.

I interviewed Brown last year about the need to raise the hourly wage to $15 per hour in Chicago during a forum at Columbia College organized by Community Media Workshop, now known as Public Narrative.

Brown wrote a scathing article published in the December 2nd issue of “In These Times” about the shooting death of Laquan McDonald and the cover up by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Police killed a good person

Jones, a 56 year-old grandmother, also worked as a crossing guard and at a local bakery.

“She was very active in her community. You couldn’t ask for a better person, ” said Sam Adam, Jr., one of two attorneys who has sued the City of Chicago on behalf of her daughter Latarshia Jones.

Her mother’s violent death occurred on December 26 at 4710 W. Erie, a two-story building where the family lived.

Bette Jones is shot dead for opening the door.
Police killed Bettie Jones when she opened the front door of her home.

The police officer whose name has not been released by the City of Chicago shot and killed Bettie Jones and her upstairs neighborhood Quintonio LeGrier.

Jones was shot once.  LeGrier, a 19-year-old undergraduate engineering student at Northern Illinois University, was shot six times. He fell on top of Jones’ body, according to court documents.

Funeral services for Jones and LeGrier were recently held.

An unnamed source told the Chicago Tribune that LeGrier, who was suffering a nervous breakdown, ran out of the house swinging a metal bat at the police officer who shot him because he feared for his life.

Antonio LeGrier has sued the City of Chicago for his son’s violent death. In the lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, LeGrier said his son was shot inside the building, not outside, and he was never a threat to the police officer. The police fired several bullets into the wood frame house.

Antonio LeGrier called the police for help with his son. He asked Jones to open the door for the police when they arrived. She was shot to death in what police said was an accident, but what neighborhood residents called an execution. Quintono LeGrier had called police minutes before or at the same time as his dad.

The day after Jones and LeGrier’s murders, about 20 members of Action Now stood out in the freezing cold along with me and 50 others to question and protest the deadly shootings.

Action Now members wore their familiar blue T-shirts with “Action Now” written in blue and white block letters on the shirts blue and white backgrounds. They wore the T-shirts over warm coats and sweaters.

I called Action Now, but my calls were not returned.

Jones was a member of Action Now. The day after police killed her Action Now members came to her home. A retired Chicago police officer is treasurer of Action Now.
Bettie Jones was a member of Action Now. The day after police killed her Action Now members came to her home. A retired Chicago police officer is treasurer of Action Now.

On the organization’s website, Action Now wrote: “Chicago police murdered one of our own early this morning. Bettie Jones was attempting to let police into her building to respond to a call when they shot her through the door. Ms. Jones, just 56 years old, was a mother of five and a member of Action Now. We are working with the family to seek justice for her death.” Ms. Bettie Jones was a member of Action Now, a grassroots organization in Chicago that works on racial, social, and economic justice.”

The posting noted that Action Now was raising funds to help the Jones’ family pay for her funeral. Action Now has now reached its fund-raising goal for Jones of more than $10,000.

Police showed no compassion for the wounded Jones. Although she was still alive, the cops did not administer first aid.

The cops’ blue-wall of silence also took hold, crossing racial lines where some would not have expected it.

A black cop told her Jones’ daughter, ‘Your mother’s dead. Get over it,’ according to the lawsuit and Sam Adam Jr., a lawyer for Jones’ family.


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