Mr. Jahmal Cole, a Chicago activist and nephew to Ms. Bettie Jones, introduced a petition to ban the secret Grand Jury process.
Mr. Jahmal Cole, a Chicago activist who today granted me an exclusive interview to discuss the fatal officer-involved shooting of his aunt, Ms. Bettie Jones, a 55 year-old mother of five, surprised me when he said if he had a chance to speak to the embattled Mayor of his city, the first thing he’d do, before an utterance, is give him a hug.
Mr. Cole, who doesn’t think Mr. Rahm Emanuel will resign despite the pressure to do so, said his loving demeanor is how Ms. Jones, a church-going woman who was killed the Saturday after Christmas when opening the door for Chicago police responding to a domestic disturbance call in the apartment above her, would have wanted him to react to this tragedy.
Mr. Cole and his family are “still in the dark” about the details of the shooting. Even the names of the officers responsible for the loss of life haven’t been released.
“There needs to be uncompromising justice for my family,” he said, later adding that Mr. Emanuel, instead of stepping down, needs to step up, which would include visiting with the grieving family.
Today, Mr. Emanuel, who ended his vacation in Cuba early because of the incident, announced all cops in Chicago will be armed with Tasers.
“It’s a step in the right direction, said Mr. Cole, who, though in favor of the new policy, characterized it as a drop in the bucket.
So many Chicagoans, no matter their race, Mr. Cole said, are outraged right now.
“Even police officers are outraged,” he explained.
Beyond the anger, black Chicagoans, he said, are apprehensive more than ever about engaging with police officers.
“You don’t know what will happen now when you interact with a police officer,” Mr. Cole, who acknowledged the integrity of the city, is in question, said to Dr. Vibe when asked what life is like in the present-day for black men in the Windy City.
Mr. Cole – while he, his family and citizens of the City await more information about the shooting – has begun to circulate an online petition to prohibit the secret Grand Jury process, which as of now has more than to 20,000 signatures.
“The Grand Jury process is irresponsible,” said Mr. Cole, echoing the sentiment of many frustrated Americans.
The Governor of California today signed a bill that would ban the use of Grand Juries in police shootings.
Mr. Cole hopes to see a similar scenario play out in his city and state sooner rather than later.
Until that day comes, however, the young activist will continue to seek out how he can improve the quality of life for Chicagoans, and he hopes other citizens will follow his lead in this challenging time.
“Ask not what Rahm can do for us,” Mr. Cole said, “but what can we do to help Rahm.”
CLICK HERE to sign the petition. A replay of Mr. Cole’s interview on The Dr. Vibe Show will be made available shortly.
Keep a look out in January 2016 for an NPR Music documentary starring Grammy Award-Winner Mr. Christian McBride and co-starring Mr. Christopher “Flood the Drummer” Norris.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™