Chicago cops accused of being 'jumpy'

Over the weekend, one cop shot and killed a man she said made an "aggressive movement" toward her

By Kim janssen
The Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — A Chicago cop investigating an alleged drug deal shot dead an unarmed man on the South Side on Saturday night after he made an ''aggressive movement'' toward her, police say.

Relatives of Ontario Billups, 30, want to know why he was killed on the 8100 block of South Ashland at 8:30 p.m. They believe the female officer who shot him may have fired in haste out of fear after a string of recent murders of Chicago cops.

Billups, of the 6600 block of South Seeley, was declared dead at the scene, where bloodstains remained in the snow Sunday morning.

Tactical officers assigned to the Gresham District first spotted Billups in the passenger seat of a car, apparently conducting a drug deal, according to a police statement.

When officers approached and announced themselves, Billups was inside the car, hiding his hands inside a jacket, the statement said. Billups refused to show his hands despite ''numerous demands'' from the officers, it said.

As Billups exited the car, he made an "aggressive movement" and an officer ''in fear of her life'' pulled the trigger, the statement said.

Billups -- known to pals as ''Long Long'' because of his lanky 6-2 frame -- had a felony drug conviction for dealing cocaine in 1999 and was sentenced to seven years behind bars after pleading guilty to attempted murder in 2003, records show.

But relatives said he had recently earned his G.E.D., was trying to turn his life around and wouldn't have threatened a cop. One of 17 brothers and sisters, he had worked on a garbage truck in Jackson, Miss., but was unemployed at the time of his death, his family said.

''With all the police killings, I think the officer got scared -- she must have been a rookie to shoot an unarmed man,'' Billups' sister Trevier Jones-Gaines said.

Supt. Jody Weis rejected any suggestion that officers are ''jumpy'' or quicker to shoot following the murders of five officers this year.

He urged people ''not to draw any inference just because a weapon's not there,'' adding that ''officers have to make split-second decisions'' and ''oftentimes if you wait for that weapon, you won't have time to take an action.''

Calumet Area detectives and the Independent Police Review Authority are investigating.

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