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Young activist dies after being shot in West Rogers Park. ‘We can honor him by continuing the call to end gun violence.'

Monday, August 03, 2020
Chicago Tribune
by Paige Fry

A 17-year-old student who called for police officers to be removed from Chicago public schools has died after he was found on a sidewalk in Rogers Park with a gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

Caleb Reed, a student at Mather High School and a leader of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), was shot about 1 p.m. Friday in the 1900 block of West Granville Avenue, according to police. He was taken to St. Francis Hospital Evanston, where he died Sunday morning.

Police have not released any other details of the shooting and have reported no arrests.

The group GoodKids MadCity wrote in a tweet that Reed was a “freedom fighter” who wanted money spent on school policing to be diverted to mental health support and other services for students.

“This tragedy is traumatizing & heartbreaking,” the organization wrote. “We can honor him by continuing the call to end (gun violence) & get students resources for healing.”Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th, who has supported the removal of school resource officers, called Reed “a light in our community that was extinguished too soon. We need to address the root causes of #GunViolence so that we stop losing our people.”

The Chicago Teachers Union echoed his sentiments. “This madness won’t stop with more enforcement,” it wrote in a tweet. “Chicago must end its violent relationship with our children, and provide empathy, healing and means to manage the onslaught of trauma.”

On June 9, Reed spoke at a news conference supporting a proposed ordinance that would have terminated the $33 million contract between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police Department and remove school resource officers from schools.

Reed said having a police presence in schools labels students as potentially dangerous criminals. He shared his experience of being arrested for not having an ID at a school basketball game.Reed said he left to use the bathroom at halftime. When he returned, an officer asked for his ID, which he did not have. Reed said he walked away, but another school resource officer was called in to arrested him. Reed was detained in a cell for six hours.

“While I was sitting in that cell I felt angry and confused, but I remained calm because I knew the situation could have escalated real quick,” Reed said. “The situation was wrong because I did nothing wrong. I would have wanted the officer to ask me to leave, but that didn’t happen that day.”



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