Accessibility links

USA

Chicago Mayor: More Training, Tasers for City's Police

  • VOA News

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, listens to Police Superintendent John Escalante during a news conference about new police procedures on Dec. 30, 2015, in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, listens to Police Superintendent John Escalante during a news conference about new police procedures on Dec. 30, 2015, in Chicago.

Chicago police will be better trained to handle tense domestic situations and police cars will be armed with Tasers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday.

The overhaul in police tactics comes days after two African-Americans in Chicago were shot dead in a domestic dispute. One of them was a 55-year-old woman who police say was killed by accident.

"There's a difference between whether someone can use a gun and when they should use a gun. And the city must train for that difference," Emanuel said at a news conference.

Officers will be trained on how to intervene in violent domestic situations involving suspects who are drunk, mentally ill, high on drugs, or simply out of control.

Police will be given electronic stun guns called Tasers that can disable a suspect without having to use bullets.

"We expect that every police officer develops skills and abilities that allow them to help dissolve confrontations by using the least amount of physical or lethal force," acting Police Superintendent John Escalante said.

People place candles in a makeshift memorial at a vigil in honor of Bettie Jones, a mother of five, and college student Quintonio LeGrier, at Gwendolyn Brooks Academy in Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 29, 2015.

People place candles in a makeshift memorial at a vigil in honor of Bettie Jones, a mother of five, and college student Quintonio LeGrier, at Gwendolyn Brooks Academy in Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 29, 2015.

He said the goal is for police in the field to establish "time and distance to allow for more prudent thinking, and physical space to promote a safer environment."

Chicago shootings

In the latest police shooting to make national headlines, Chicago officers responded to a call from the father of Quintonio LeGrier, a young man he described as "mentally disturbed" who was reportedly threatening him with a baseball bat.

Police opened fire on the young man, saying he was "combative."

The bullets also struck down Bettie Jones, who police say happened to open her front door at the wrong time.

Chicago has also been shaken by the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by white policeman Jason Van Dyke.

Police car video, released in November, shows Van Dyke shooting the teen as he walked away from police. McDonald was shot 16 times, even while he was already on the ground writhing.

Van Dyke has been charged with six counts of murder. He pleaded not guilty.

The video set off weeks of protests in downtown Chicago with many of the marchers demanding that Emanuel resign.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG