Man charged in fatal shooting of teen for ‘smiling’ says behavior is ‘just normal’ where he’s from in Chicago

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RACINE, WI – A Wisconsin man charged with fatally shooting a 17-year-old in Racine told investigators he was from West Chicago and that type of behavior was “just normal” there, according to a criminal complaint.

Joshua Daniel, 18, was charged on Monday with first-degree intentional homicide and nine counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety after prosecutors say he pulled out a gun and shot and killed a teen at a party last Friday.

Daniel told police that he thought people at the party were going to shoot him and that such behavior is normal in his hometown of West Chicago, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint said Daniel went to a party with three women who he told police he believed were “setting him up.”

Witnesses said as soon as they walked into the door, Daniel pulled out a gun and shot the victim, according to police.  The victim is identified as 17-year-old Dontrell “Trell” Bush.

The complaint said that Daniel shot Bush “because he was ‘smiling and looking’ at him.” Daniel said he felt someone else was going to shoot him so he shot Bush first, the complaint said.

None of the three witnesses said they saw the victim with a weapon. The witnesses ran from the home following the shooting, according to prosecutors.

Daniel fled the home with the three women, but then ran away from the group. As the three women spoke with police following the shooting, Daniel reportedly continued texting them.

Police located Daniel a short time later and arrested him. He was found in possession of a loaded gun magazine matching the caliber gun used in Bush’s shooting, according to police.

Daniel appeared virtually in court Monday, and was ordered held in the Racine County Jail on $100,000 cash bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on May 20. Daniel faces life in prison if convicted of First-degree intentional murder.

Bush was a junior at Horlick High School and a rising star on the basketball team. He had dreams of playing Division I college ball. His mother spoke while gathering with family and friends Saturday to mourn the teen.

Tamyra Morgan described her son as athletic and musical, talkative and funny:

“He just enjoyed being a young man. I can say that — he had fun.”

The victim’s uncle, Le Ron Ball, is an assistant basketball coach at the school, and helped raise the boy:

“He had yet to reach what he was going to reach. He had a way to go. He left too early.

“Our behavior at 17 shouldn’t define our end story. It shouldn’t define our legacy. It’s never too late until it’s too late.”

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Chicago mayor wants cops to ask permission from a supervisor before chasing a suspect on foot

April 21, 2021

 

CHICAGO, IL- Mayor Lori Lightfoot is considering a momentous change to a Chicago police procedure, stating she wants a revised policy in place before summer.

According to reports, the change in policy will require an officer to get a supervisor’s permission before beginning a foot chase. The issue gained new urgency after an officer reportedly chased and fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Lightfoot said:

“No one should die as a result of a foot chase.”

Since the fatal shooting, rewriting police policy on all foot chases has no become a hot topic at City Hall, with Lightfoot promising to announce details of a new policy “soon.”

Alderman Brian Hopkins said that an official in the mayor’s office told him officers could soon be required prior to a foot chase to do what is now required before a vehicle chase, which is getting permission from a supervisor. Hopkins added:

“Of course that raises obvious problems. In the time it would take to do that, the person you’re supposed to be chasing is actually long gone. The point would be moot then.”

Hopkins noted an unintended consequence of the new vehicle pursuit policy, stating:

“We’re seeing more vehicles flee from police officers because word has gotten out that they’re probably not going to get permission to chase you.”

On Monday, April 19th, Lightfoot commented on the “dilemma.” She said:

“I don’t want people out there who are dangerous to think, ‘well, if I just run, then I’m safe. I can continue to wreak havoc.’ We can’t live in that world either.”

Hopkins stated that is is past time to rewrite Chicago’s current “vague rules.” He added:

“I’m sure the officers themselves would agree with me. The more guidance we can give them, the more comfortable they’ll feel when they have to make these high-stakes decisions in the blink of an eye.”

ABC7 News reported that Sheila Bedi, a Clinical La Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law said that community groups have been pushing for a formal foot pursuit policy since 2018, but that the city has balked. 

Currently, Chicago police only have a foot pursuit training bulletin. In it, officers are told:

“When making the decision to pursue or continue to pursue, the safety of the public, Department members, and the fleeing subject should be the foremost considerations.”

Nursrat Choudhury, Legal Director for ACLU Illinois added:

“It needs to make clear that valuing the sanctity of human life is a key consideration when officers are deciding whether to make a foot pursuit in the heat of the moment and similarly, if officers decide not to engage in a foot pursuit, it needs to be clear that they will not be disciplined.”

In the most recent report from the independent monitor overseeing Chicago police reforms, the data shows that from March through December 2020, there were 1,300 foot pursuits.

Nearly a third of them, 382, resulted in the use of force and there were 30 cases that resulted in the use of deadly force.

However, in the sudden rush to do something drastic after the Toledo case, there are concerns about getting too restrictive with a pursuit policy. State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D) said in a statement:

“We definitely need to have some form of pursuit, otherwise we will just let the bad actors get away.”

Alderman Ray Lopez, 15th Ward, added:

“If someone runs that is shooting, you give chase to apprehend. You don’t give them a pass. You don’t say it’s okay, we’ll just catch you on the next one.”

Lopez said that what happened to Toledo is tragic, but he is concerned about knee-jerk policy reactions. He said:

“The true issue here is that this officer didn’t go into the alley at 2:30 to chase someone just to shoot them. They were responding to a gang incident because a 21-year-old man was trying to recruit a 13-year-old boy to be part of a gang.” 

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