February 24, 2024

Outrage after jury acquits police officer who fatally shot Black teen in the back

police car light siren thegrio.com
(Fotolia: halabala)

Yet another family was left devastated and heartbroken after the reading of the jury’s verdict, that exonerated a police officer in the killing of a young Black man.

Zion police officer Eric Hill reportedly shot 17-year old Justus Howell twice in the back during a chase in April 2015. Hill claims Howell turned around during the chase and pointed a gun at him.

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The family denies these claims.

According to The Chicago Sun Times, Howell’s family states that when Officer Hill shot Justus Howell, he did not have the gun in his hand at the time, alleging Hill lied and doctored the scene. 

When the slain teenager’s mother, Latoya Howell, finally left the courtroom she told a reporter, “no justice, no peace.” Later, she said, “my son did not get justice in this life.” 

Andrew Stroth, one of the family’s lawyers, said Howell’s relatives were “devastated” by the verdict. He said that surveillance video of the shooting “speaks for itself.”

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In the Chicago suburb of Zion, police say the Justus Howell was killed by officer Hill with what began as an illegal gun sale before the shooting. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Hill pulled into an alley. That’s when he crossed paths with Howell, who began to run. Hill and other officers pursued Howell. Hill told Howell to “stop” and “drop the gun.” 

The coroner revealed that 17-year-old Justus Howell was shot twice in the back. Police officers say that after the teen was shot, officers recovered a handgun. 

A month after the fatal shooting the Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim announced in that Officer Hill was justified when he fired his gun at Howell.  

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