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Mother of teen killed by police wants son’s case reopened

May 18, 2019
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Octavia Mitchell poses for a portrait in her home near a painting of her son, Izael Jackson, Thursday May 2, 2019, in Chicago. He was fatally shot by police in 2010 and Mitchell says she’s working with police regulators to reopen his case. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — The mother of a Chicago teenager who was fatally shot by police in 2010 says she’s working with police regulators to reopen his case.

In the spring of 2010, two Chicago police officers fired three shots into Izael Jackson’s back, killing him. Police said the 18-year-old senior opened fire on the officers as he fled a traffic stop. The department deemed the officers’ version of events trustworthy and declared Jackson’s death justifiable.

However, police noted they didn’t find any fingerprints and didn’t test DNA evidence from the firearm.

“How do you finish a puzzle and all the pieces aren’t there?” Jackson’s mother, Octavia Mitchell, asked. “How did my son’s case get closed and why?”

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates accusations of police misconduct, said it would reopen the probe into Mitchell’s son’s death and review the evidence taken from the firearm if allowed, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Though COPA is an independent civilian agency, it requires the endorsement of Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to investigate. That police union contract bans cases from being reopened if they are older than five years unless the city’s chief officer grants an approval.

“It’s a toss-up,” said Mitchell, who has boxes of legal documents stacked throughout her South Side apartment. “I just don’t trust the police department.”

The department will first “seek court guidance” on whether the samples can be given to COPA for testing, said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The department declined to comment on Mitchell’s allegations and gave no sign as to whether Johnson would grant his authorization.

Phillip Aaron, Octavia Mitchell’s attorney, said no matter the outcome, he feels that Mitchell is an example for others in comparable situations.

“I believe Ms. Mitchell has done a great service to our community,” Aaron said. “Because in doing this, what she has done is open up the road for other mothers and parents who’ve lost their children through police violence and in circumstances that are questionable.”

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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