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Unarmed black woman gunned down & killed in Chicago less than a month after Trayvon Martin

Less than a month after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black citizen was gunned down in Chicago. Last week 22-year-old Rekia Boyd was shot in the head by an off-duty Chicago detective. She died the following day.

Police say that the officer in question drove up to a group of people in Chicago’s Douglas Park around 1 am last Wednesday, rolled down his window and asked them to quiet down at which point 39-year-old Antonio Cross pulled out a gun forcing the detective to open fire, hitting Cross in the hand and Boyd in the head.

But Cross, who has since been charged with a misdemeanor of aggravated assault, maintains that he was unarmed and police have yet to recover a weapon. While witnesses have verified Cross’s account to the media, Alderman Michael Chandler of the 24th Ward where the shooting took place says residents who witnessed the shootings have called to complain that they have yet to be contacted by authorities. Chandler also says that police have failed to investigate neighbors’ claims that the officer in question told a crowd “What do I have to do around here to get some peace, quiet and respect? Shoot someone?”, the day before Rekia was shot.

An innocent young woman of color is dead under extremely questionable circumstances, and her family, just like Trayvon Martin’s, is calling for justice. Besides a handful of local Chicago news reports, the death of Rekia Boyd has received little to no attention.I think this speaks to a broader problem. That is to say, the frequent shootings of unarmed African Americans has become so normalized in America that it takes the most outrageous, unjust, and clearly racist cases such as Trayvon’s to get our attention. But as the death of Rekia Boyd and Ramarley GrahamOscar GrantSean Bell, and many more before her shows, this will not end with Trayvon Martin.

The fact of the matter is that people of color, particularly black people, in this country are viewed as suspicious and until we confront and organize against the systemic, institutionalized racism that permits the murder of unarmed people of color, things will never change.

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