CHICAGO, Ill. – A family in Chicago is laying the blame of the death of an 84-year-old woman on the Chicago Police and their so-called ‘lack of training’, according to a report from Fox.
Their statements to the public came after a collision involving two Chicago police vehicles last month claimed the life of Verona Gunn.
The woman’s relatives said that the crash was a result of both a lack of training as well as police “recklessly” speeding down city streets.
“We understand that our mom is dead today because of poor policies within the Chicago Police Department (and) she’s dead because there is a lack of proper training when it comes to police and how they are recklessly driving through our communities,” her son, Dwight Gunn in a news conference on Tuesday.
Surveillance video captured by a liquor store on the corner shows the moment the vehicles collided at an intersection.
Gunn can be seen in her car on the right, stopped and waiting for the oncoming emergency vehicle to come through. But all of a sudden, another police vehicle barrels into the other, connecting all three in a powerful wreck.
Gunn was brought to a nearby hospital but died from her injuries. Both passengers in Gunn’s car were injured but recovered. 10 other officers were also injured in the Memorial Day crash.
The video of the collision can be seen below. Warning: viewer discretion is advised.
The family is now filing a lawsuit against the city, alleging that their decision to drive “at unconscionably high speeds through the densely populated Austin neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago…” led to Verona Gunn’s death.
They also make mention of the fact that the responding units were heading to assist officers at a “potential crime scene” and not in pursuit of a dangerous criminal.
It continued to read that “the level of inherent danger created by the speed at which they were travelling outweighed the necessity to arrive as soon as possible at a crime scene.”
The family’s lawyer, Andrew Stroth, claimed that Gunn’s death could potentially have been in direct relation to the police department’s decision to flood the streets with officers during the Memorial Day weekend to get out ahead of what they expected to be a violent weekend.
“Part of the reaction by police that weekend was based on the surge of officers,” Stroth said. “It resulted in a complete overreaction by officers responding to calls.”
Stroth also called attention to the fact that the densely populated area police were speeding through was predominantly black, questioning if they would have done the same in a different neighborhood.
“Where is the equity?” he said. “Would these officers have traveled at high speeds and recklessly through Lincoln Park, through the Gold Coast, through Old Town?”
Video Shows Police Van Crash That Killed 84-Year-Old Verona Gunn; Family Suing City https://t.co/DMLn1eGnNc
— KATHY POWERS (@twopowers1) June 11, 2019
“It is not enough to simple say, ‘We’re sorry,’” Dwight Gunn said. “There has to be a purpose that comes out of this pain we’re experiencing.”
This is a tragedy, through and through. Ms. Gunn deserved no part of this awful accident, and our hearts go out to her family. Some ask, ‘how do we fix this?’ To that, there is no definite answer. We live in a world where there are constant emergency calls. They don’t stop. Most civilians would be shocked to see the actual numbers that come in. Calls that ask emergency responders to speed across the city to offer aid. That demand someone of authority be present right then and there.
How many times do we get complaints in the media about police response being too slow? Officers not making it in time to save a life, to apprehend a suspect, to safeguard a defenseless victim? It’s hard seeing it on both sides of the court. These officers clearly didn’t communicate properly as they were en route to the call, but in the heat of the moment when someone is in trouble – all systems are go.
It should also be noted that during Memorial Day Weekend, over 43 people were shot. So how do we “properly train” officers to be where we want, when we want, while also keeping everyone safe?
It’s not the easiest question to answer.