911 Dispatcher May be in Trouble in Teen’s Deadly Chicago Police Shooting

HUB TELEGRAM — A Chicago 911 dispatcher is facing possible disciplinary action for the handling of a frantic call from a teenager who police shot and killed just minutes after he phoned for help.

Christmas Eve morning, Quintonio LeGrier made three phone calls, pleading with dispatchers to send an officer to his West Side home and repeatedly telling them that someone was threatening his life. During one of the calls, a 911 dispatcher hung up on LeGrier.

When officers arrived at the home, they fatally shot a neighbor who was at the door, and they shot LeGrier six times, killing him.

The killings of Bettie Jones, 55, and LeGrier, 19, stoked already inflamed tensions in Chicago between the community and police after recent controversial police shootings.

LeGrier’s father, who also called 911 that day, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

‘I need an officer …’ ‘No, it doesn’t work like that’

During the first call LeGrier placed, a dispatcher hung up on him.

LeGrier began by saying, “I need an officer” and provided his address.

The dispatcher asked him, “What’s wrong?”

LeGrier: “I just need an officer over here, OK?”

Dispatcher: “No, it doesn’t work like that. What’s the problem?”

LeGrier: “I just need to talk to an officer.”

Dispatcher: “OK, what’s wrong?”

LeGrier: “I need to talk to an officer.”

Dispatcher: “OK, you can talk to an officer over the phone. I can connect you to one if you want.”

LeGrier: “Someone’s threatening my life.”

Dispatcher: “Is the person there with you now.”

LeGrier: “Yes.

Dispatcher: “Are you in a house or an apartment?”

LeGrier: “In a house.”

Dispatcher: “And your name?”

LeGrier: “Q.”

Dispatcher: “What’s the last name?”

LeGrier: “Can you just send an officer?”

Dispatcher: “Yeah, when you answer the questions.”

LeGrier: “There’s an emergency. Can you send an officer?”

Dispatcher: “Yeah, as soon as you answer these questions. What is your last name?”

LeGrier: “There’s an emergency!”

Dispatcher: OK, if you can’t answer the questions, I’m going to hang up.”

LeGrier: “I need the police!”

Dispatcher: “Terminating the call.”

Repeating while pleading for help

The teenager called back immediately, at 4:20 a.m. A different dispatcher answered and asked him to repeat all the information he gave to the previous operator.

LeGrier immediately says, “Hello. Are you sending the police to my location?”

Dispatcher: “Where is your location?”

LeGrier repeated his address. He was asked and repeated that he lives in a house.

LeGrier: “Can you please send. …”

Dispatcher: “Sir! Your name?”

LeGrier: “Can you please send the police?”

Dispatcher: “After you tell me what’s going on. What is your name?”

LeGrier: “Can you please send the police?”

The call ended, though it’s unclear who ended it or if it dropped.

A dispatcher asks if caller is on drugs

LeGrier called 911 a third time, at 4:21 a.m., and another dispatcher answered. The call took the same tack as the others, ending with the dispatcher asking LeGrier if he was on “roofies,” or the drug Rohypnol.

The call began with LeGrier giving his address again after the dispatcher asked him for it.

He was asked, “What’s wrong?” and answered by saying, “I have an emergency.”

Dispatcher: “I need to know what’s wrong.

LeGrier: “Someone’s threatening my life.”

Dispatcher: “Who? Where are they now?”

LeGrier: “They’re in the house.”

The dispatcher asked LeGrier for his name. He said, “Q.” The dispatcher said, “Where are you going to be, Q?”

LeGrier: “Are you going to send the police? I already … well, f— this.”

The dispatcher kept asking him if he was going to be at the house.

The call then got more confusing. LeGrier said something that sounded like, “F— this stupid s—. I’m gonna come and kill you. …You don’t give a f—.”

LeGrier said, “There’s something wrong with you.”

The dispatcher responded, “Hello? Do you need the police or no? Hello?

LeGrier: “Are you going to send the police or not?

Dispatcher: “Are you going to answer my questions?”

LeGrier: “F— this.”

The back-and-forth went on a little more when the dispatcher asked if there were weapons at the house.

LeGrier answered no.

Dispatcher: Where are you going to be?

LeGrier: Fo, stop f—ing playing with me.

Dispatcher: Are you talking to me or someone else, because my name ain’t Fo. You on roofies?

A father’s desperate final call

LeGrier’s father, Antonio, immediately phoned 911 and, breathing heavily, told a fourth dispatcher, “I need an officer. … My son is attempting to push inside my bedroom door.”

Dispatcher: “Is it a house or apartment?”

The father told the dispatcher that his son had a baseball bat. After asking for and receiving the younger LeGrier’s age and giving his own name, the dispatcher said, “OK, we’ll ask for police.”

Lawyer calls dispatchers ‘rude and offensive’

A record of calls has been handed to the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings.

The city Office of Emergency Management and Communication told CNN that a dispatcher should hang up on someone only as a “last resort.” The dispatcher who hung up on LeGrier is still on the job until the office can complete an investigation, a representative said.

Bill Foutris, a well-known Chicago civil rights attorney who is representing the LeGrier family, declined to comment on why Quintonio LeGrier would have said he felt threatened. “I believe that the conduct of the 911 dispatchers is reprehensible,” he said. “Quintonio called three times asking for police assistance, and he was never told that help was on the way. Instead, he was hung up on once, and met with a rude and offensive attitude on the other two calls.

“Dispatchers are supposed to send help when someone asks for it,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

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