Sunday, September 27, 2020

Young Black, Teen Activist Who Fought To Defund Police In City of Chicago Has Been Shot Dead

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It is a tragedy anytime someone loses their life to a criminal, but it is even sadder when that person is a teenager.

That is what happened to a young teen activist in Chicago whose body was found on Friday afternoon, but hopefully some good can come from this tragedy.

Sadly, the good that could come from it would be the opposite of what the victim, Caleb Reed, 17, would have wanted, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Reed spent his time campaigning for police to be defunded and for police to be removed from the crime ridden Chicago schools.

A crowd of about 50 people gathered outside Mather Tuesday to remember a young man who was an articulate, driven advocate for funneling more money to communities plagued with violence. He argued in favor of having police officers removed from schools and for police departments to be defunded, his friends said.

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Reed, a junior at Mather, was found lying on a sidewalk July 31, in the 1900 block of West Granville Avenue, authorities said. He had been shot in the head and was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died two days later. Police had not made an arrest in the case as of Tuesday.

And as a teenager he can be forgiven for believing what he heard adults say about how defunding the police would help the community.


But it would have been fantastic if, on the day he was shot in the head on those Chicago streets, a police officer was there to protect him.

“I dated Caleb for three years, and I can’t believe I’ve got to bury my boyfriend,” his girlfriend, Derrianna Ford, said. “He was too kind for this world. He cared about everybody.”

Does Chicago need more police?

That is likely true. He presumably truly believed that police are hunting black men and he wanted to keep his city safer.

But it is unlikely that it was a police officer who murdered him. More likely it was another senseless Chicago murder in what has become an all too familiar story.

And as much as we disagree with this young man’s position on the police we would love it if he were still alive to have this debate.

No teenager should be cut down in the prime of life. No parent should have to bury their child at the hands of a thug.

But the answer, that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot needs to recognize immediately, is that the answer is more police, not less of them.

And also more funding, not less, for more training so that tragic incidents where an innocent person is killed happen less frequently.

“I spent every moment with him. We planned our whole lives together. To be in this position, it hurts. It hurts so much,” his girlfriend said.

“I’m feeing so much grief right now about my son, Caleb. He was such a good boy. He cared about people so much,” his mother, Sabrina Pleasant, said to a crowd of mourners.

How many more kids have to die? How many more people have to be terrorized? How many more parents have to bury their children before Chicago welcomes federal law enforcement to come in an help?

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