According to the New York Times, 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier called 911 three times before the police shot him.
There have been new findings from a December police shooting in Chicago which left LeGrier, a college student who was experiencing a mental episode, and his neighbor dead after being hung up on by an impatient dispatcher. When LeGrier did not give identifying information, the dispatcher hung up on him.
Pressed three times to explain what was wrong, Mr. LeGrier finally said, “Someone is threatening my life,” then pleaded for an officer to be sent, as the dispatcher continued to seek his last name.
“There’s an emergency!” Mr. LeGrier said. The dispatcher answered: “O.K., if you can’t answer the questions I’m going to hang up.”
“I need the police!” Mr. LeGrier said.
“Terminating the call,” the dispatcher responded.
LeGrier made three calls within a three-minute period and his father made a fourth call which was made public earlier this month. Police units responded to a call. They fatally shot LeGrier, and his neighbor, a 55-year-old grandmother who was answering the door. Police officers have already called her death “accidental.”
“You have a situation here — Quintonio is looking for help,” Basileios J. Foutris, the lawyer, said. “He’s calling for police assistance. The first time he does that, he’s hung up on. The next two times, he’s met with rude, offensive, crude, inappropriate dispatchers who basically treat him like trash.”
While questions arise about the phone call’s public release, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s office said that he only learned of the calls on Monday.
A spokesperson for Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications told the Times via a statement that the initial dispatcher violated protocol by not sending help when LeGrier said his life was in danger. That employee is reportedly being disciplined, but will remain on the job pending a ruling.
“Call-takers are required to ask specific questions to determine the nature of the event” and decide whether the police should be sent, the statement said. “Call-takers follow specific protocols and may only terminate a call as a last resort.”
(Photo provided by Legrier’s Mother/Twitter)