Thursday, May 08, 2008


God, I'm sick of reading stories like the one below where someone, usually a young African American man, is shot over and over by police who seem to want to make absolutely certain they are dead.

Well they can be sure Aaren Gwinn is...dead.

Witnesses say the police shot him eight times.

Police are, as always, looking into the matter.

To serve and protect, oh yeah, right.

The cops have a story, of course. They always do. The stories they come up with always sound pretty much the same.

These cops say they got an anonymous tip a car Gwinn was in contained drugs. So good cops that they were they pulled that car over in the 1500 block of Jackson Street in North Chicago. They point out Aaren Gwinn was a passenger in the car. They say as officers were speaking to the driver of the car, Demetrius Gibson, 30, of North Chicago, whom they had ordered out of the car, Gwinn jumped into the driver's seat and began driving off. So they killed him dead.

Who wouldn't? That will be their defense, "who wouldn't".

Following the shooting, police say they found crack cocaine and pot on Gwinn. Of course they did. They always do.

The authorities quickly released information that Gwinn had been arrested and jailed before i.e. Gwinn was an ex-con so, hell, why not shoot him?

Did I mention that the "dangerous" Gwinn, unlike these cops, these defenders of law and order, was not armed?

That Gwinn did not have a weapon, however, is inconsequential, a police spokesman told the Chicago Tribune. That same spokesman said the car could be considered a weapon.

Well, that takes care of that problem.

Did I mention residents of the area saw things differently?

"They shot a black male," said Terry Harris, who surveyed the scene of the shooting from his motorcycle. "Growing up here you're used to brutality. You don't ask what's going on. You say 'They did it again.'"

"We want people to feel safe here, not just from gang and gun violence, but from the police too," LaTonya founder of the non-profit Love to the People, told the Lake County News-Sun.

"They won't shoot a cougar, but they shoot unarmed humans," said an uncle, who declined to give his name. "Black boys, that's what they shoot."

People are also asking questions.

Did police follow procedure on the stop? Why was it necessary to shoot Gwinn as reported "several" times to stop him? If police suspected the men were armed (as they claimed), why were Gwinn and a second passenger allowed to remain in the car (which the cops apparently consider a weapon)?

Antionette McDaniel, 37, of Atlanta, one of the victim's five siblings, said the Gwinn family has been harassed by police. She and other family members claim drugs were planted on the victim in a previous arrest and that he had been badly beaten in another altercation with police.

Guess what? Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran admits, Gwinn was hospitalized after an arrest by Waukegan police in August 2006. Gwinn also complained that North Chicago police roughed him up during another arrest in November 2007 -- that claim was documented -- Curran confessed.

McDaniel, a college graduate and budding playwright, said her brother was planning to move to Atlanta.

"Aaren was not the thug they're painting him to be," she said. "He was a dean's list student at Waukegan High. He was a wrestler. He played piano at the North Chicago Community Youth Center. He was very outgoing and he loved people."

Yeah, but he was black and an ex-con (thus expendable), so the cops killed him.

They always do!

The following is from the Lake County News-Times.

'The cops were on each side'

NORTH CHICAGO -- Why was Aaren Gwinn shot to death by police Tuesday?

That was the question among angry bystanders and witnesses in the 1400 block of Jackson Street.

Gwinn, 21, was a passenger in a silver 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix headed north on Jackson at about 1:53 p.m. when two unmarked police vehicles pulled the car over at 15th Street. The car was driven by Demetrius Gibson, according to Gloria "Precious" Gibson, his sister, who said she was driving directly in front of her brother and Gwinn, her first cousin, and saw what happened.

"The cops were on each side," Gibson sobbed at the scene. "Aaren was in the passenger seat, but after they made Demetrius get out, Aaren slid over to the driver's seat and that's when they shot him."

Gibson and others who claim to have witnessed the shooting say police pumped seven or eight bullets into Gwinn at close range.

"They had their guns pointed inside the car," Gibson said. "They shot him, and then they rammed him. They didn't even yell a warning."

Josephine "Josie" Gwinn, of Waukegan, sat crying in front of the small brick ranch just south of 14th Street where Demetrius Gibson, Gwinn, and a third passenger, Steven Bell, 26, had been heading.

"They did this on purpose, I know they did," Gwinn said. "He's been running from the police since he was 2 years old. He was afraid of them."

Mrs. Gwinn said that her son -- the youngest of her six children and the father of 1-year-old Aareriana and a newborn -- had recently been released from jail.

"He was always respectful to me," she said.

According to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Gwinn served time for drug and battery convictions but was paroled last year.

"He was trying to turn his life around and do the right thing," said the Aaren's sister, LaAngel Gwinn. "He was trying to take care of his baby."

Gibson and Bell had intended to pick up a truck parked in the driveway of Gibson's parents home, in the same block where the shooting occurred. Willie Gibson said his son used the truck for the collection of scrap metal. Gibson and other relatives said Demetrius, who has also served time, was frequently stopped by police.

"He knows to cooperate," Gibson said.

"Why didn't they tell everybody to get out of the car?" an uncle asked.

Gloria Gibson, Demetrius Gibson's mother and the victim's aunt, said she ran to the car immediately after the shooting, but police tried to push her back. She said Gwinn's lifeless body sat collapsed against the driver's seat, his hand on the steering wheel.

"They filled him up full of holes," she said. "That's why they didn't want to let us see him."

Witnesses claim none of the men were carrying weapons.

Police cordoned off Jackson Street between 14th and 15th streets. The Lake County Major Crime Task Force was called in, and officers from that group were canvassing the neighborhood Tuesday in search of more witnesses.

North Chicago Police Sgt. Sal Cecala said at the scene that detectives directly involved in the shooting were meeting with Police Chief Mike Newsome late Tuesday afternoon. The department had not released information at press time.

"We have an investigation going," Cecala said. "We have to do our job first. Then we can answer questions. There's very little to say right now.

"My condolences go to this family," he added.

Neighbors and passersby continued to ring the scene at 5 p.m. Some made angry comments.

"They were intending to kill that child," one woman said.

Gwinn, who would have turned 22 on July 30, was pronounced dead at Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan.

Lake County Coroner Richard Keller told the News-Sun Wednesday morning that Gwinn was shot 'a few' times. He disagreed with witness reports that Gwinn was shot seven or eight times but would not reveal the exact number because of the ongoing police investigation. Results of toxicology tests will be available this afternoon.

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