CHICAGO, IL – A young woman was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle in Chicago. While these types of situations are common for the windy city, the victim being an anti-violence advocate is not.
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 6, 2022
According to the Chicago Police Department, the young woman, 20-year-old LaNiyah Murphy, was sitting in a parked car when some type of argument erupted between she and another person. That is when police allege that the gunman opened fire, striking Murphy in the head and killing her.
Police have noted that the person who was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting is known to them, but they have not released the name.
Police have also not released if the person has been taken into police custody yet.
Murphy was a member of the Brave Youth Leaders according to Lamar Johnson, who is the violence prevention coordinator with St. Sabina. Murphy joined the group, which stands for Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere, when she graduated from high school.
“She fit the description of what a Brave Youth leader is, very vocal and not afraid to speak out about things that are not right in their community. She was the reason a lot of youth joined the program during the time she was here.”
LaNiyah Murphy was 16 when she was shot in her head. She survived — and became an anti-violence activist working around the city.
— Block Club Chicago (@BlockClubCHI) January 6, 2022
Johnson spoke about Murphy and her speaking at a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC. He said:
“She also spoke on our behalf in Washington, D.C. She helped lead a demonstration at the White House and spoke Purdue University about gun violence prevention and organizing against school shootings.”
Murphy grew up in the Auburn-Gresham area and excelled while she was enrolled as a high school student at the Prospective Leadership Academy where she earned the award of salutatorian. Murphy was also enrolled in college and trying to make a name for herself.
Johnson spoke of Murphy’s commitment to ending violence in the area. He said:
“She would hold everybody accountable, that’s what LaNiyah would do. She would get in your face and hold everyone accountable, that we all need to do something about gun violence in the city.”
Tragically, this was not the first time that Murphy had been shot or helped someone who had.
Johnson shared how Murphy would tell the story about how she survived after having been shot in the head when she was 16:
“She was always telling the story of how she survived gun violence and how people need to turn around and be peaceful and not resort to gun violence. She was shot in the head, and she survived that.”
LaNiyah Murphy, 20, was killed by a Chicago shooting in West Pullman while sitting in a parked car in the 12200 block of South Wallace Street Tuesday. https://t.co/FbOJCzTLXl
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 6, 2022
Johnson then noted that Murphy’s death shows that there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in Chicago to stop the violence. He said:
“That goes to show that there’s more work that needs to be done. The fact she was a younger person doing this speaks volumes to the climate of our city’s leadership. More needs to be done in our city.”
Murphy’s death comes at a time in which the City of Chicago surpassed while over 800 murders for 2021.
In attempts to slow down the homicides and violence that has been plaguing the city, Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has requested that judges in Cook County stop letting alleged violent offenders out of jail with GPS monitoring.
Her belief is that a lot of these violent offenders who are released to electronic monitoring pending the court dates go on to commit other violent crimes.
While this is the case in some circumstances, leaders in the Cook County judicial system claim that the majority of those released on GPS do not reoffend.
Despite the rise in violence in the city and Lightfoot’s request, the Chief Judge in Cook County denied her request. The judge noted in the denial that he believed the move would be illegal.
The dispatcher took to social media to speak out against city leaders and referred to the area as a ‘death zone.’
Keith Thornton, a Chicago Police Dispatcher, reached notoriety for his handling the night that Chicago Police Officer Ella French was killed and another injured.
Now he is making news once again, but this time for calling out the leadership in Chicago, specifically alleging that Chicago Police Superintendent Dave Brown lied to a community meeting when he told those in attendance the 16th district had plenty of officers to provide safety.
Thornton took to his personal Facebook Page and decided to blast city leaders in a video that lasted almost thirty minutes over police staffing issues and the city mentality when it comes to criminal justice.
Thornton spoke specifically of the 16th District and noted that on December 23rd, nine of the 14 police units that were assigned to that area were down, which left that area with only five police officers. He said:
“It’s [staffing] outrageous and I’m not happy. The ones that are white are the ones that have beat cars. The ones that are scratched out, they’re down. So you have no police coming.”
Thornton panned to the parking lot of the district to show the number of police cars that were just parked in the parking lot as an example of the lack of officers working.
He then spoke about the lack of safety police officers are feeling due to the staffing shortages and noted that he receives several text messages about it.
“When I’m getting text messages from officers telling me that they’re afraid for their safety because they’re working by themselves and then the beat next to them, to back them up, isn’t there because the cars are down, that’s a problem. That’s a safety concern.”
Thornton went further to warn citizens and visitors alike of being in the Windy City. He said:
“If you are a Chicagoan, living here or doing business here, even just visiting as a tourist here, your safety is compromised and in jeopardy.”
One of the people who took notice of Thornton’s Facebook video was City Alderman Nick Sposato who intends on meeting with the superintendent over manpower concerns. Sposato said:
“We have to fight for crumbs. Since we are in a city that believes in socialism, give us our fair share and even things out. Start helping us on the Northwest Side and give us more bodies.”
Sposato alleges that the 16th area is significantly understaffed compared to when he first took office in 2011 and then needs more to keep the area safe. He said:
“We need at least 50 bodies. We are losing them at a rapid rate. I feel we get punished in the 16th District for being a safe community.”
City Alderman Anthony Napolitano also weighed in on Thornton’s comments and said that he agreed with them, but noted that they are the same words he and others have said for several years. He said:
“My residents deserve to feel safe, and they don’t anymore. I agree with the stuff the dispatcher said. But it’s all stuff we’ve been saying for seven years.”
Thornton spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times regarding his recent Facebook video and the comments he is receiving because of it. He said:
“I think it’s fantastic. It’s getting them [city leaders] to do their jobs.”
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