NAACP, family claim man who stabbed officer in the face was shot “because he was black”

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – The family of a man who was shot and killed after stabbing an officer in the face joined liberal activist groups claiming he was killed for being black.

Two Springfield police officers were called to Genesee Street in the city’s Liberty Heights neighborhood on Sunday morning for a report of a man threatening someone with a knife.

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said police arrived around 8:30 a.m. and located a man who matched the description provided to police.

Police said that as officers confronted the armed man, identified as 23-year-old Orlando Taylor, he stabbed one of the officers in the face.

Commissioner Clapprood said:

“The suspect, an adult male, then stabbed one of the two responding officers in the face after being told multiple times to drop the weapon.”

The injured officer fired twice, striking the suspect. Officers then rendered medical assistance until EMS could arrive. He was transported to Baystate Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The injured officer, who has not been identified, was also transported to Bayside for treatment of serious injuries, according to police. He suffered nerve damage and faced multiple surgeries. His nerve damage may be permanent.

Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh described the wounded officer as a military veteran with nine years at the Springfield Police Department. He has been recognized several times for life saving actions in the past.

Commissioner Clapprood stressed the officers did what they were trained to do:

“No officer wants to be involved in this situation. Nobody comes into work on a Sunday rainy, icy morning that they would be involved in this, but I am so proud of all officers involved who acted professionally and did as they were trained.”

NAACP, family claim man who stabbed officer in the face was shot "because he was black"

Taylor’s family has now come out accusing the officers of shooting him because he was black.

The Taylor family, joined by Minister Charles Stokes of the Black Liberation Alliance for Change, staged a brief press conference Monday afternoon in front of the Taylor home on Genesee Street.

Taylor’s grandmother, Earlene Victoria Taylor, was on the porch of the home at the time of the shooting. She said she pleaded with officers not to shoot Taylor:

“I pleaded with the police officer not to shoot my grandson, not to shoot him because he has mental illness. I don’t understand why they had to shoot him.

“I saw them shoot him twice. He did not deserve it. He did not deserve it”

Earlene said that if Taylor were black, he would still be alive:

“If this was a white person, this would not have happened. I know it. I mean, tell it the way it is and that’s exactly what it is.”

Rev. Stokes called the shooting a “wanton disrespect for life,” saying Taylor was a “good, young man.”

The two officers, whose race was not disclosed, have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Commissioner Clapprood said the incident was captured on body cameras and the footage would be released to the public once the investigation concludes.

The Hampden District Attorney’s Office is investigating the shooting. Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno on Sunday said he had reviewed the  police bodycam footage and he believes the police acted appropriately:

“In my eyes, unfortunately, it was justified.”

Rev. Stokes targeted the comments to claim there was a rush to clear the officers before the investigation was complete:

“The gall to say that this was a justifiable shooting when all the facts have not been brought to the table.”

A coalition of community groups, including the leader of the Greater Springfield NAACP, has criticized officials’ comments supporting the officers and called for an independent investigation by a neutral party.

The group issued a statement calling for a neutral investigation signed by Bishop Talbert Swan, president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, the Rev. David Lewis, president of the Pioneer Valley Project, and Trisha Arena, the executive director of ARISE for Social Justice, as well as by the Springfield chapter of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Springfield No One Leaves, and M.O.R.E.

The statement read:

“The seriousness of police-involved shootings cannot be overstated. The reputation and often the career of involved police officers often depends on whether a full and accurate determination is made of the circumstances that precipitated the event and the manner in which it unfolded.

“The police involved shooting of Orlando Taylor has raised many questions regarding how police respond to incidents involving persons with well-known and documented histories of mental health illness.”

No comments were reported coming from the activist groups or the family regarding the condition of the injured officer.

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Three-time gun offender in brazen 2020 Chicago park massacre caught on video captured

December 31, 2021

 Chicago, IL – Steven Hayer,26, has been charged with first-degree murder for the June 2020 death of Angelo Pullum, 36, at Rogers Park, a murder viewed widely in a viral video.

The three-time convicted gun offender was charged Wednesday with shooting Pullum in the back of his head at point-blank range. The murder occurred around 7 a.m. on June 28, 2020.

Hayer has been charged with first-degree murder, armed habitual criminal, criminal trespass to a residence, and possessing a controlled substance.

Hayer was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm twice in 2017. He was also convicted in 2015 and 2013 of unlawful use of a weapon and in 2012 convicted of carrying or possessing a gun, all of which are felonies, prosecutors said.

He was also previously convicted of three misdemeanor charges of street gang contact.

Hayer’s public defender said he holds down two jobs, including one in which he works for an attorney who is “doing restorative justice.”

The defense lawyer said that Hayer is engaged and has one child with another on the way.

Judge Charles Beach denied bail on the murder charge during a court hearing on Wednesday, according to Cook County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sophia Ansari. Bail was set at $400,00 for the other charges.

The shooting was captured on surveillance video, which spread quickly on social media in the early days of a spree of gun violence that raged through Chicago during the summer of 2020.

In the video, which is time-stamped 6:56 a.m., the two men can be seen crossing the street together and walking between parked cars before stopping in front of a closed black iron gate in front of an apartment building.

They stood talking to each other for about 30 seconds. There was no apparent indication of tension or conflict between the two as they spoke. Pullum, dressed in a black t-shirt and wearing a red baseball cap worn backwards, seemed calm during the discussion.

The other man, who authorities believe was Hayer, dressed in royal blue sweatpants and a hood pulled up in the video, was rocking back and forth on his feet as they talked.

After the 30-second conversation, Pullum turned his head away from the suspect, who then took one step back while pulling out a silver semiautomatic pistol and fired once into the back of Pullum’s head.

 As Pullum fell to the ground against the gate, the suspect ran from the scene.

Pullum was pronounced dead a short time later at Amita Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.

Police asked the public for help identifying the suspect and released several other videos in the neighborhood believed to have captured the suspect wearing his hood covering his face.

Investigators said phone records and witnesses proved vital to the investigation into the murder. Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Pullum and Hayer exchanged 12 phone calls in the hours before the shooting.

 

Witnesses told authorities they observed a black Jeep pull up to Pullum and a group of others standing with him before the shooting. They identified Hayer as the person who exited the Jeep and walked over to Pullum.

As other members of the group left, Hayer and Pullum walked together down the street before the murder. After the shooting, witnesses said Hayer was picked up by the same Jeep, which then left the scene.

In addition to cellphone records showing calls between the victim and suspect, cell tower data placed Hayer’s phone in the area at the time of the shooting.

Chicago police officers told investigators they believe they saw a handgun sticking out of Hayer’s pocket as they monitored surveillance cameras at a Chicago Housing Authority project in the 500 block of West Iowa, according to Murphy.

When police arrived to arrest Hayer, he fled carrying a bookbag. He knocked on several apartment doors until a resident opened the door expecting her sister, according to reports. When she opened the door, Hayer ran inside and upstairs. He began shouting at police that he did not have a gun.

The woman who answered the door later said she did not know the suspect.

Police eventually took Hayer into custody. They found a plastic bag near Hayer containing 79 smaller baggies of suspected cocaine, according to Murphy.

Under a bed mattress in the room, police found a black Nike bookbag containing his birth certificate, personal items, and a loaded pistol.

Adding to the mounting evidence against the suspect, one of Pullum’s family members found Hayer’s property, including credit cards and a wallet, on Pullum’s body, according to prosecutors.

Hayer, of the 6800 block of South Crandon Avenue, is scheduled for another court appearance on January 18. 

 

 

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