Newly released 911 tapes reveal that a 19-year-old Chicagoan shot by police last December 26, called 911 three times in the minutes prior to his shooting, begging them to come to his father’s house on west Erie.
Quintonio LeGrier was shot six times by police, in a fusillade of bullets that also left a neighbor, Bettie Jones, fatally wounded. While LeGrier’s father claimed he was being threatened by his son, the calls reveal that it was actually the son who called police first, imploring them to come to his father’s house where he insisted it was his life which was being threatened.
“Frankly it’s outrageous and offensive behavior by the dispatchers,” said attorney Basileios Foutris, who represents LeGrier’s father. “It’s not something that’s appropriate.”
The 911 tapes reveal that Quintonio Legrier was the first to call police at 4:18 am.
“I need an officer at 4710 West Erie Street,” he says. Asked what’s wrong, he replies, “I just need an officer over here, OK?”
“No, it don’t work like that,” the dispatcher says. “What’s your emergency?”
Eventually, when he’s informed that he might have to speak to a police officer on the phone, LeGrier declares, “Someone’s threatening my life.”
But that call terminates. LeGrier calls back again, talks to a new dispatcher, and again the call terminates. In his third call, with still another dispatcher, he goes on for more than two minutes.
“I have an emergency,” he says. “Someone’s threatening my life.”
But during the remainder of the call, LeGrier’s comments are sometimes incomprehensible. And the dispatcher is audibly frustrated.
“Are you going to send the police or not?” LeGrier asks
“Are you going to answer my question?” the dispatcher replies. “I’m talking to you. If you can’t answer the questions, how do you expect me to assist you?”
A minute after that call ends, LeGrier’s father Antonio calls, and insists he is the one who is in danger.
“My son’s attempting to break inside my bedroom door,” he says. “He’s got a baseball bat in his hand.”
Arriving police officers shot Legrier and Jones near the building’s front door. At that point the details become murky. An official Medical Examiner’s report suggests the shots were fired in the hallway. But both Foutris and attorney Sam Adam say that belies the physical evidence, which suggests the officers fired from the curb.
“Every single employee of the City of Chicago Quintonio encountered reacted improperly,” Foutris said. “Either by hanging up on him, or shooting him in the back.”
Sharon Fairley, the new administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority said in a statement, that Quintonio Legrier’s first two calls did not result in any officers being dispatched to the Erie Street address.
“We have interviewed several important witnesses,” Fairley said. “However there is still much to be done, and we will continue to provide information and updates on the investigation, as we move forward.”
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications said in a statement that "call takers are required to ask specific questions to determine the nature of the event, determine if such a request warrants and emergency response and dispatch proper resources. Call takers follow specific protocols and may only terminate a call as a last resort."
"Disciplinary proceedings are underway for the call-taker who handled the call at 4:18 a.m. for not following proper protocol," the statement continued. "Per the CBA, the call-taker will remain in service until the discipline process is complete."