T-Boz Mourns the Loss of Mentally-Ill Cousin Killed by Police: ‘His Family Needs Justice!’
TLC member Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins is mourning the loss of her cousin Eddie Russell Jr. who was fatally shot 18 times by police after a standoff in Peoria, Ill., last week.
The R&B singer shared the tragic news on her Instagram page on Friday (Sept. 22). T-Boz and her family are demanding answers and accused the police of using excessive force by firing 18 shots. Family members says that Eddie Russell Jr. struggled with mental health issues but wasn't a threat to anyone.
According to authorities, Eddie Russell was the suspect of an armed bank robbery that happened on Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 20). The 25-year-old suspect barricaded himself in his house for two hours. Police say that five or six special response officers fired shots at him reportedly after he emerged from his home and advanced toward officers with a raised gun. None of the officers were wearing body cameras during the shooting.
On Friday (Sept. 22), About thirty people, mostly relatives and friends of Eddie Russell, gathered in Martin Luther King Jr. park before their six block march to Peoria Police headquarters, reports Peoria Public Radio. Bishop Harold Dawson of New Life Christian Church, who marched with the Eddie Russell's grieving family, hopes that more details become available so the community can heal and avoid violent clashes with police in other cities, like Ferguson and Baltimore.
“It’s a teachable moment," he said. "It’s a moment that can cause us to take a look at where things are, perhaps to even prevent a Ferguson.”
Meanwhile, T-Boz wants justice for Eddie Russell and police held accountable for their actions. “My Is Broken! U Think The Tragedies That Happen Across The World Wouldn’t Happen2 U At Least U Hope They Won’t! But To Us It Did,” she wrote on IG. "My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT!”
"He needs JUSTICE! His Mother and Father and Family need JUSTICE!!!!" she continued. "PLEASE HELP HIS MOTHER AND SPREAD HER STORY SO SHE CAN GET THE HELP SHE NEEDS AND JUSTICE FOR HER SON!!!! The system Failed Him and Her!"