RANTOUL – There will be no charges from the local state’s attorney against a Rantoul police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old after a chase.
Champaign County State’s Attorney, Julia Reitz, determined in a preliminary report that Sgt. Jerry King was justified in using deadly force against 18-year-old Jordan Richardson.
It started as a traffic stop during the afternoon of June 7. Initially, Richardson was compliant with the officers, and then he took off running. Officers said the teen had a weapon when the pursuit began. King repeatedly told Richardson to drop the gun.
“Richardson continued to flee and after he fell, held the gun in his hand and turned towards Sgt. King,” according to the preliminary report. The officer fired two shots at Richardson’s chest, causing fatal injuries.
Members of Richardson’s family disagree with the police account.
“I feel like honestly, it’s bullcrap,” said Cynette Bailey, Richardson’s legal guardian. “I’ve watched all the videos 1000 times. We’ve slowed them down. We’ve taken screenshots. Jordan dropped that gun, and he threw it.”
She said that her analysis of the body worn camera footage shows that Richardson did not have a gun in his hand – and that it was actually a few feet away from him. She said he was running away, not pointing the gun toward the officer.
“That’s not somebody that’s attacking you – that’s somebody who’s scared,” said Bailey.
She said that the officer was also wearing protective gear, and he should have used non-lethal force.
“The simple fact that four months to the day before that another kid was running and got shot and killed makes me feel like there’s something going on in Rantoul,” said Bailey.
This is the second fatal police-involved shooting to happen in Rantoul this year.
21-year-old Azaan Lee was shot and killed during an altercation with another Rantoul police officer back in February.
Bailey said she thinks race could definitely be a factor in Lee’s death – and she’s not the only one.
“There’s a lot of them [police officers] that don’t like us and they harass us,” said Lee’s aunt, Allison Anderson. “I feel like if you’re racist, you should not even be on the police force.”
Bailey believes if officers knew their community members, this wouldn’t happen.
“They need to get more involved and start learning [about] the people in the community,” said Bailey. “So, they don’t feel like, ‘I’m scared for my life. Let me kill this kid.’”
However, one Rantoul officer doesn’t agree.
“I feel like we’re very connected and very interwoven within the community,” said Deputy Chief Justin Bouse.
He said there’s a different commonality in incidents like these.
“Had the people complied, had the people not fled, especially carrying a handgun, all these circumstances can change instantaneously and don’t have to result in a shooting death,” Bouse said.
Anderson does not trust either the state’s attorney’s decision or opinions from fellow officers.
“It’s a setup now. That’s the only way I can look at it,” said Allison Anderson. “They’re going to cover for each other now and that’s just how it is.”
Anderson and Bailey both said that the community and the police force need to come together to better serve the community – so their citizens can feel safe.
“They need to join together, and everybody needs to stop looking at the color of their skin and start looking at what’s on the inside, because we all bleed red,” said Bailey.