CHICAGO—It has been over a year since 30-year-old Darren Green, Jr., was allegedly shot and killed by Illinois State Police during a traffic stop in Harvey, Ill. Since the incident, no charges have been filed or arrests made.
Illinois State Police has not responded to The Final Call’s request for comment but released a statement last year stating Mr. Green was killed by his own weapon. The state police force alleges Mr. Green’s gun went off as his SUV lunged forward.
In video footage released last October, an Illinois State Police officer can be seen wrestling with Mr. Green in the passenger’s seat before the vehicle lunges forward and shots are heard. The two officers involved remain on administrative leave. An autopsy ruled Darren Green, Jr.’s, death a homicide and that he was shot in the back of the head.
Mr. Green’s family and their legal representatives, Attorneys Andre Grant and Brandon Brown, continue to fight for justice. A vigil was held Oct. 7, the exact date he died the year prior, to honor Mr. Green. The gathering was attended by relatives and supporters.
“The family is distraught; the family is hurt; the family is in pain,” Atty. Grant told The Final Call. “He’s the father of three children; one of the children who was just born will never see his father.”
He said that the Illinois State Police who were sued by Mr. Green’s family have been slow in their investigations. “There has been no transparency, no accountability, and we believe the ISP is covering it up. It’s nothing else to describe, it’s murder.”
Atty. Grant said the police force alleging Mr. Green shot himself is untrue. “We know that’s a lie, the physical evidence says that’s a lie,” continued Atty. Grant. “We know that Darren Green, Jr., was shot after the vehicle came to a complete stop. … There was no accidental discharge, there was no struggle with a gun. He was deliberately shot in the back of the head. The officer has a history of predatory behavior.”
Attorneys Grant and Brown uncovered that the officer in question, Christopher Ehlers, has a record of overly aggressive behavior. During a press conference last year, Atty. Grant said the officer was reported to have been mishandling an elderly Black woman during another stop. The footage was not released to the public and Illinois State Police did not confirm that the officer in the video involving the elderly Black woman or Mr. Green was Officer Ehlers.
Atty. Grant stated he sent multiple letters to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, who serves as the county’s prosecutor, and State Attorney General Kwame Raoul requesting independent investigations. “We’re hoping Kim Foxx will do the right thing and if not, we’re going to ask the state attorney to do it,” continued Atty. Grant.
Atty. Foxx’s office did not respond to The Final Call’s request for comment, but a spokeswoman told local news early this year that the case remains the “subject of an active and ongoing review” and that they cannot comment any further. Tori Joseph, deputy press secretary of Kwame Raoul’s office, did not respond as to whether the office received the letters from Atty. Grant.
Donna Jones, mother of Darren Green, Jr., said, she wants the officer responsible to be held accountable. “I want the police officer who did this to go to jail,” she said. She does not want to see the Illinois State Police officer do the same to another family.
Ms. Jones said she is grateful for the continued support, especially during the vigil where balloons were released in honor of her son.
“It was very emotional for me because I had to relive it all over again, the day of his death. Just reliving that all again, it was painful. There was a lot of support. My son had so much love to give.”