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‘Our lives matter’ – Father of police shooting victim seeks police reform

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PEORIA (WEEK) - On Wednesday, Peoria Police released a four and a half page letter detailing five police involved deaths. One of which was the shooting death of 25 year-old Eddie Russell Jr. in 2017.

It was on West Sheffield Dr. in September of 2017 when Eddie Russell Jr. was shot 17 to 18 times by 6 Peoria Police Officers. While State's Attorney at the time Jerry Brady and Illinois State Police said the department was justified in their use of deadly force, Eddie Russell Sr., Russell's father, said no person deserves what happened to his son.

It has been one month since the death of George Floyd, a video Eddie Russell Sr. said is difficult to watch.

"It brought back painful memories, yes it did."

Police said his son, Russell Jr. was seen robbing a nearby bank and then fled to his mother's house. An hours-long stand-off ensued that ended when police said Russell exited with no warning armed with a gun, a claim the family denies, they say based on other eye witness accounts.

Their frustration now, that no one is held accountable.

"Nothing else is done about it. And it's time to make some noise. That's why you see what you see on a daily basis throughout the whole nation, because people are sick and tired of being sick and tired." said Russell Sr.

Russell Sr. said his son was very creative and artistic who loved to go on long walks. He said he was known to have some mental health struggles, something he wants the police department to have more training in how to handle such scenarios.

"It will give them more awareness. It will deal with the human-ness in the person. Instead of being up here and treating them like, like they treated my baby. They treated by baby like an animal. They hunted him."

His hope now, people continue to fight for reform and change.

"I believe that everybody deserves a second chance, everybody. You know what I mean. It's like this system is so broken that it doesn't give us a chance and when I say us, I'm talking about men with melaninated skin, black men, alright. Our lives matter."

Russell said they are still moving forward with their federal lawsuit against the Peoria Police Department.

Kaitlin Pearson

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