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> Unarmed 15 Year Old Fatally Shot By Police, R.I.P. Kiwane Carrington
Fremen Bryan
Oct 21 2009, 12:50 AM

"The Sleeper must awaken"

2-February 08
Ohio, America, Earth, Universe

Champaign Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed 15 Year-old African American Youth

On Friday afternoon, Oct. 9, 2009, Champaign police fatally shot an unarmed 15 year-old African American named Kiwane Carrington. The name of the Champaign police officer who did the shooting or how many police officers were involved has not been released. The Illinois State Police are currently investigating the death.

Champaign police responded to a call at 1:20 p.m. of an alleged burglary in the 900 block of W. Vine St. According to a statement from Champaign police at 5:30 p.m., they were "confronted" by two 15 year olds when they arrived. Both refused to obey the officers and get on the ground. A physical struggle ensued during which a weapon "was discharged resulting in the fatal wounding of one of the subjects." Although the names of the officers involved in the struggle have not been released, Champaign Police Chief R. T. Finney's shoulder was sprained in the incident.

The second youth was arrested, charged with residential burglary, and taken to the Youth Detention Center. Because he is a juvenile, his name is not being released.

Our condolences to the family of young Kiwane Carrington.

Please stay tuned. Don't believe the hype. Will keep you posted.


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Mourners stand shoulder to shoulder for Carrington

By Paul Wood

Saturday, October 17, 2009 7:00 AM CDT
CHAMPAIGN – A smiling, helpful boy who liked basketball and computers was remembered at the funeral for 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington on Friday. At the same time that friends and family expressed outrage, they also expressed hope for peace.

Mr. Carrington was fatally shot in an altercation with Champaign police a week ago. The incident, which involved Police Chief R.T. Finney and another officer, who has been placed under paid administrative leave, remains under an investigation led by the Illinois State Police. Few details about what happened have been released.

Pastors speaking at Salem Baptist Church, 500 E. Park St., C, also called for being slow to anger in the controversial situation.

The large church was shoulder to shoulder in the pews, with dozens of people lined along the walls, and the hall was full of the sound of sobbing.

The Rev. Claude Shelby said the church is meant to have up to 550 people in the pews. But the crowd amounted to at least 750, which he said was a record for a funeral there.

The Rev. Jerome Chambers, president of the Champaign County NAACP, said repeatedly "Enough is enough!" and asked "Why did this 15-year-old have to die?"

"Only the truth will save Champaign," he said. But Chambers also asked for patience while the investigation of the shooting continues.

He said "adolescence is a time of turbulence" where "rebellion against authority is to be expected."

Chambers gave a dissertation on the stages of anger, and said rage can lead to temporary insanity. He urged the congregation not to stay in a state of fury.

He disputed a poem on a local blog about Mr. Carrington that begins "Just a Black Boy, Not going to amount to nothing, Mother dead, Father God knows where."

Chambers said the teen was not just another black boy; he was "our black boy" and that he did have a father who saw him even though they didn't live together. Mr. Carrington's mother, Rita Williams, died of cancer a year ago.

Chambers said the boy accepted Christ as his personal savior last year and had more recently been baptized with his father, Albert Carrington of Champaign.

Bishop Lloyd Gwin of the nearby Church Of The Living God also stressed forgiveness of "those who trespass against us."

Bishop Lloyd Gwin delivers a eulogy for Kiwane Carrington, 15, at funeral services Friday morning at Salem Baptist Church in Champaign. By Robert K. O'Daniell

"God is adamant about us forgiving each other," he said. He also quoted Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Community activist Terry Townsend, who attended the funeral, said he was moved by the pain the children in the audience felt.

But he took issue with pastors who urged the congregation to submit to authority and to not be angry.

"We talked at those kids, not to them. Everybody was more or less lecturing them not to be angry. In this case, the kids aren't resisting arrest; they're resisting injustice. They're thinking, 'I'm not doing anything wrong and they don't have the right to tell me to get on the ground.'"

Other speakers included Richard Kelly of the alternative READY school, who broke into tears remembering his student.

He said "Kiwane wanted to be an astronaut." The young man "wanted to see what space looks like" and find out the nature of the universe.

Seon Williams, a relative who owns the Whip barber shop and cut the boy's hair, said he could see "another Kiwane in the lights in us ... so his light won't go out."

* * * * * * *

READY school classmates trying to cope with loss

By Jodi Heckel

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:30 AM CDT
CHAMPAIGN – Trenika Washington created her T-shirt last week, with a photo of her friend Kiwane Carrington on the front and a drawing of a cross on the back, the name "Kiwane" in the center and "Loving Memory" on the sides.

Washington and her classmates at the READY school, run by the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education, have been making posters, cards and drawings to express how they feel about Mr. Carrington's death. He died Oct. 9 when he was shot during an altercation with Champaign police.

"Drawing wasn't so hard as actually writing words to him and thinking about the situation," said Washington, a senior at READY.

She and classmate Tanisha Allen, also a senior, attended Mr. Carrington's funeral this past Friday, along with many other READY students and a dozen staff members. Allen said the funeral helped her deal with her feelings about Mr. Carrington's death – "I saw him, and he was resting" – as did talking about it in class Monday.

"It lets a little bit off of you every day," Washington agreed.

But school officials know students are still grieving.

READY School seniors Trenika Washington, left, and Tanisha Allen hold a T-shirt and banner they made in memory of Kiwane Carrington at the school on Monday. By John Dixon photos

"We know this just doesn't end with the funeral," said Donna Shonk, director of the school. "We want to be prepared to meet the needs of students any way we can."

That includes bringing in a few male community members, including the Rev. Rickey Parks of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, who was at school Monday. Parks met with five or six students who were Mr. Carrington's closest friends, and he'll be at READY once a week for the next four weeks to talk with the boys, along with Seon Williams, a local businessman who cut Mr. Carrington's hair. Because many staff members at the school are female, the school asked a few men to come in and help the male students cope.

The school's crisis team will continue to meet as needed to talk about how students are doing, Shonk said.

"The biggest thing is not for them to bottle things up and be angry, but to learn how to deal with their emotions in a way that's positive and to talk," she said.

Last week was a hard week at the school. Shonk set up a conference room as a place where students could go to talk with staff.

"It was the talk of the community last week," Washington said. "You're sitting at home, and you're hearing about it, or you're reading the paper and hearing about it, or friends and family come over and are conversing, and you hear about it. No matter where you went, you were hearing about it."

But, she added, READY's teachers have done a good job of helping students get their work done and manage their feelings about Mr. Carrington's death.

She, Allen and two of the school's behavioral specialists, Donte Lotts and Keisha Burke, talked about their friend Monday.

Mr. Carrington could be the life of the party – he was friendly, goofy, cracking jokes, and he loved to dance. But he also was respectful and able to get down to work when he needed to, they said. He was well-liked, and he acted as a caretaker, checking in with staff members to make sure they were having a good day and trying to serve as a role model for younger students.

Lotts said Mr. Carrington's leadership skills had grown since last year, because younger students looked up to him, and that helped him assume a more responsible role.

"I think that helped him as a person," Lotts said. "If you're telling somebody to do right, you have to do right yourself."

Shonk added: "Kiwane always had a smile on his face. Despite his own hardships in his life – losing his mom and having his own personal struggles – he came to school and was happy and really loved his friends."

Burke made a memory book for Mr. Carrington's family, with help from some students.

"I wanted to honor him in a special way, so his sisters can know how much we loved him at the school," she said.

It includes journal entries by Mr. Carrington, a drawing he made of a rocket orbiting the Earth and a synopsis of one of his last assignments, in which he talks about his dream of being an astronaut.

"One thing I like about myself is that I like my swagger and how I act," Mr. Carrington wrote nine days before he died. "I also like my smartness and being respectful."

"He didn't want to be like anybody else. He was his own person – the way he acted, his whole attitude, the way he dressed," Washington said. "He was one of the realest people I knew."

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Fremen Bryan
Nov 7 2009, 10:46 PM

"The Sleeper must awaken"

2-February 08
Ohio, America, Earth, Universe

The Champaign-Urbana local news reported that Kiwayne was shot at around 2 pm on Oct 9th, presumably because this is what was relayed to them via the Champaing Police dept. I was in the area that day and know for a fact and am an eyewitness that at 1:26 pm that day there was already a firetruck two ambulances and probably 20 or 30 other police on N. Vine St where the tragedy took place (putting the shooting more around 1 pm or shortly after that, as it takes at the very least 5-10 minutes for all of those vehicles and persons to arrive on scene), and at that time there were multiple police with guns drawn on all parts of the house AFTER THE FACT of the young man being shot and they were still treating it like a robbery/standoff even though there were no signs of entry or damage to the house (UNTIL the police themselves broke out windows and a door). This time discrepancy is another example (as if any more were needed) of police/government lying to the media and the media repeating the lies as if absolute truth without any field investigation. What is more the other young man who was with Kiwane was held in custody on attempted robbery charges AFTER the householders said 'they were like sons' to them and after it had already been established that the young men had not entered the house. IMHO that young man is the only credible witness to what really happened on N Vine St before and when the police arrived, and now that the robbery charges have been dismissed THEY are attempting to charge him with criminal resisting, instead of Officer Daniel Norbits with manslaughter. The media as always is very upside down and backwards on this one, and in the very earliest reports portrayed Kiwane as the bad guy. -Fremen Bryan

* * * * * * *

We want justice for Kiwane

Rohit Negi reports on a vigil and other demonstrations following the death of a 15-year-old at the hands of police in Champaign, Ill.

October 22, 2009

A vigil for Kiwane Carrington near where he was killed

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.--The killing of an unarmed 15-year-old by police has touched off a surge of anger and protest among the African American and progressive communities here.

On October 14, more than 750 people--among them family and friends, local community members and Champaign-Urbana-area activists--gathered for a vigil and march in memory of Kiwane Carrington, who was shot dead by Champaign police five days before.

Though details are still emerging, it is clear that this killing was a terrible crime.

Friends described Kiwane as a loving and vivacious boy who was still recovering from the death of his mother last year due to pancreatic cancer. He attended READY, a small alternative school run by the Regional Office of Education, where students and faculty are in shock.

According to the school's director, Donna Shonk, "Kiwane was cared about by everybody. All the teachers and staff enjoyed him. They're struggling." Leanetra Moore, a friend of Kiwane's family, said the incident was "wrong. I feel the family's pain. It was a young boy who got killed."'

According to police, a neighbor called 911 to report an attempted burglary on the northwest side of town. Officer Daniel Norbits and city Police Chief R.T. Finney arrived on the scene to find Kiwane and another 15-year old African-American boy trying to get into a house. The police claim that after the two kids resisted the officers, a scuffle broke out, and a firearm "discharged," putting a bullet through Kiwane's heart.

But the police version has been questioned. Deborah Thomas, who lives at the house where police thought a break-in was occurring, said Kiwane was "like a son," and he was "welcome" at the house he was trying to get into.

At a press conference at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center on October 12, Thomas added that the police "tore my house up. I still have no back door." Some people have alleged that police tore the back door off its hinges to make the scene appear like a break-in.

Suspicions were also raised by the police's strange conduct. Kiwane's relatives were first notified about 2 hours after the shooting, and when they rushed to the ER at a local hospital, they were told to go instead to the police station.

Even more importantly, why did a Champaign officer pull a gun on unarmed juveniles? After initial silence about his identity, Champaign police admitted that Norbits, a 14-year veteran of the force, was the shooter. Norbits was also involved in the death of a developmentally disabled person, who was beaten by police in an alley in Champaign in 2000.

Norbits has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a state police investigation into Kiwane's death. The other youth involved faces a juvenile Class 4 felony charge of aggravated resisting a peace officer, which could carry the maximum juvenile prison sentence of three years.

Speakers at the vigil highlighted the fact that this killing wasn't so shocking to a community that is regularly subjected to racial profiling, harassment and abuse by police.

It's clear that Kiwane's killing has touched a nerve. More actions are planned to put pressure on public officials to win justice for his family. Community activists packed a Champaign City Council October 20, and on October 22, demonstrators at a protest coinciding with the October 22 national day of action against police brutality will call for justice for Kiwane Carrington.


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Fremen Bryan
Nov 7 2009, 11:31 PM

"The Sleeper must awaken"

2-February 08
Ohio, America, Earth, Universe

The News-Gazette Called in for Damage Control in Police Shooting
Submitted by Brian Dolinar on October 25, 2009 - 3:46pm


The independent media movement started ten years ago to expose the mainstream media's thin veil of objectivity. Recent editorials about the police shooting of Kiwane Carrington in the local News-Gazette reveal the newspaper's role in protecting the police and other powerful interests in Champaign. On Thursday, October 22, two days after a heavily attended city council meeting and the day of a planned march, the News-Gazette ran an editorial titled, "An Angry Night at City Hall." The editors assured readers that the police were in the right the day Kiwane, an unarmed 15 year-old African American youth, was shot and killed. "Circumstances point to an accidental shooting," the editorial confidently states. Officer Daniel Norbits, it continues, "did not intentionally discharge his service weapon during his struggle with Carrington."

How is the News-Gazette so certain that this was an accident? Are the editors privy to information that the rest of us are not given? Is Chief Finney secretly meeting with editors of the News-Gazette? Indeed, as Chief Finney has told me in the past, "I talk to who I want to."

The Champaign police and local authorities have urged patience. Let the Illinois State Police finish their investigation, they say. Yet the News-Gazette is already drawing conclusions, preparing the public to accept the notion that this was a justified death.

In another editorial, "Talking Past Each Other?" printed on Sunday, October 25, the News-Gazette dismissed complaints of over-policing in black neighborhoods. It addressed the mass police presence outside of the Champaign police station during the Oct. 22 march. The editors relied on second-hand information from Rev. Jerome Chambers, local head of the NAACP, who admitted he was not even at the march. Chambers claimed he talked to someone who said that during the march the police were carrying rifles. I, who was present at the march, never saw any police with rifles or heard such a rumor. Rather than investigate, the News-Gazette posed the question, "Rifles present? You decide."

There were reports that eight to ten police were standing in front of the Champaign police station along First Street and had taped off the sidewalk with yellow tape. As Deputy Chief John Murphy told the News-Gazette, the yellow tape, "wasn't necessarily as subtle as we would like it to have been."

Additionally, the News-Gazette editors uncritically accepted the police explanation that more 911 calls come from black neighborhoods. "Police said minority neighborhoods," they write, "suffer disproportionately from crime and they respond to calls for service. They perceive their effort as trying to help."

Yet members of CU Citizens for Peace and Justice discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request to METCAD, the police radio service, that this was not true in Champaign-Urbana. In one month of 2006, there were 339 calls from Douglass Park, and 374 calls from Garden Hills, while there were 1,124 that came from campustown along Green Street.

The local News-Gazette, which has a virtual monopoly of the newspaper market in Champaign-Urbana with a daily circulation of more than 100,000 copies, has one again proven their loyalty to the local power structure. They have rushed to handle damage control for the Champaign police in the indefensible killing of Kiwane Carrington.

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