Stop The Violence


Sept. 5 started out in the usual way. At about 10:15 a.m., I started out of my apartment to go to get my mail. I saw a police truck pulling into the parking lot. A police truck usually means the cops came to a “load” – more people than they can put in the police cars. By the time I got downstairs, there were two police cars pulling up in the alley behind the playground. The cops were already at the gallery on the first floor and they were putting handcuffs on one of the women standing outside apartment 105.

All of a sudden, a second woman broke loose and started running. The police were right behind her. Some of her friends yelled for her to stop but she kept running. As soon as they passed Fairfield Street, six or seven cars sped down Fairfield. I believe this was to cut her off on California, the next street – only one half a block away.

Then I heard someone shout that the girl had been shot. The next shout I heard was that the girl was dead. Everyone started running toward the park. Douglas Park is on the other side of California. I had to go to the other side of the gallery to get out because the door on my side has been chained up because the banister is broken. I ran to California, too.

Just as I approached the spot where the girl was laying, across the street at the entrance to the park, the police started putting up the “Do Not Cross” tape and making the people move back. I was staring at the girl, trying to see if she was actually dead. She wasn’t moving and it didn’t look as if she was breathing. The police shouted for us to get back or we would find ourselves in trouble too. We moved back.

A few minutes later, they started putting up more tape and pushing us farther away from the scene. This time, one of the women cops told us that one of their men had been shot, and that the police were angry now so we had better move back like they said. Then one of the male officers began to push one woman and told us to go “in the house.”

I asked a couple of women to do as they said, so we wouldn’t be arrested.
Just about that time, one of the few men that lives in the complex came up shouting and waving his arms. He was trying to get them to stop pushing us and talking to us that way.

I watched and took what pictures I could until Rhonda Ford was finally taken to the hospital. This was about 12 p.m. Rhonda Ford was in good condition at Cook County Hospital at RJ’s press deadline. When I came back to the building, one of my younger friends stopped me to tell me that he and a few friends were in the park when they saw the policeman shoot the girl.

He would like to remain anonymous. He told me that the policeman had shot four times into the park when Rhonda was hit. The police version of the story is that Rhonda disarmed the woman officer and shot her in the leg. She kept running and other officers confronted her. Another officer then shot Rhonda in the knee.

She is charged with attempted murder and criminal trespass. I had the mother, Ruby, come to my apartment on Sept. 18 to tell me what happened on that day. This is how her story goes: She had moved on Aug. 21 but had left some of her furniture behind. The manager, Yvette Jones, had given her permission to come back and get her remaining belongings and her mail. We have since gotten a new manager. On Sept. 5, the day her daughter was shot, she had come to pick up the mail.

She stopped by the apartment and found that the door was open. She went in and found garbage on the floor, and that the refrigerator had been stolen. Her daughter went in with her and they began to clean up the place. The daughter went back into the bedroom where she had left a couch and fell asleep. “I didn’t stay in the apartment when I came over to get my mail because I have friends and relatives that I visit. At about 9:15 a.m., two police officers came in. The door was closed but not locked.

“When they came in, I was bending down looking in my purse and the male officer surprised me, told me to stand up and get up against the wall. I asked what is the problem and he told me I was trespassing. He asked if anyone else was in the rooms, and I told him my daughter. I didn’t know she had fallen asleep. “The female officer woke her up and brought her into the front room.

“That’s when I asked to go to the washroom. The male officer said OK after he searched me. Meanwhile, my daughter was taken in the back and searched, then brought back in the front room. “Then the female asked me if I had anything sharp in my pocket. I said no and emptied my pockets and put everything on the stove. After I used the washroom, she brought me back in front My daughter was still half asleep and the female was pulling her into another room. Next thing I knew, she had ran. I called for her to come back, everything would be alright.

“When she bolted out the door, the female cop ran right behind her. I had been handcuffed by her partner, who asked ‘What the f— is she chasing her for? It’s only a f—ing trespass. He then rushed me out and hand-cuffed me to the fence and started calling her but got no response. He uncuffed me from the fence and started running with me and put me in a squad car and rode around the block about three times while he kept trying to call his partner.

“When he got by Schwab Hospital, I spotted my daughter and told him to get her, so we could get this over with. When he backed up, he could have caught her as she was about to cross the street. He got out, opened his trunk and I heard one shot. The policeman went to the trunk of his car twice. Whatever he took out, he put back. As my daughter ran across the street, a cruising car hit her and she rolled off the car onto the street at the bus stop heading west toward the playground.

“I didn’t know she had been shot – the policeman told me. By then, all the police cars and the ambulance were there. I kicked the door and asked what happened to my daughter. He said, ‘She shot my partner, so I shot her.’ Then I just leaned back and cried. They took the female cop to Mt. Sinai right away and my daughter lay there for about 45 minutes. I asked why they let her lay there bleeding like that. He replied, ‘Let the b—h die. She got what she deserved.’

“They took me to Harrison and Kedzie. I gave my statement to a State’s Attorney named Lisa at 9:45 p.m. and I refused to sign the 7-page document until she put in the words the male police had said to me (‘She shot my partner so I shot her’). She wrote it on the left hand side of the paper two and a half inches from the top and then I signed it. I wasn’t released until 3 a.m. I signed an ‘I’ bond.”

I asked Ruby about the arrests I had read about in the newspaper that Rhonda had on her record. She replied, “She was ordered to go to TASC for four months and didn’t go. I just found out she had a warrant on her.” I asked what charges were on her daughter’s record and she told me, “There is only one where I had threatened my husband years ago after he had threatened to throw me down the stairs. We both went to jail that night. Nothing came out of it.'”

Helping Youth
On Friday, Sept. 27, I was proud to escort two young men to the county courthouse in Markham. They had been caught trying to steal some gym shoes from a retail store in that area. This was their first offense. They had missed two court dates. Now they had a warrant out on them. We arrived at the courthouse at 10 a.m. Jason Allen and Ronald Woods were sent to be processed.

They went to court, room 201, at 2 p.m. After the judge told them what they had to do to clear their names, they went back to lock up. They were released at 5:30 p.m. The judge was fair. They have to go to a class for one day to hear someone teach them why they should not steal. The class will cost them $75 each, about the price of the shoes they tried to steal. After they return to court on Jan. 5, their records will be erased automatically since this was their first offense.

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