ChicagoRay has been reporting on Derrion Albert, the Chicago Honor Student who was murdered by a mob of teens or young adults. See important below the video. See also a new video interview with Derrion's mother.
"Derrion has never been in a fight in his life," said Joe Walker, Derrion's grandfather who raised him. "He never raised his voice. Not in 16 years have I had one day of trouble."
Walker broke down several times speaking about his grandson, proudly showing off the awards he received at Christian Fenger Academy High School for excellent attendance and being on the honor roll. Derrion had just started his junior year.
"We were crazy about him," Walker said. "He was the type of grandson everybody wished for."
Walker said he and his late wife had raised Derrion since he was a baby. When the boy's mother moved to Downstate Mount Vernon, he chose not to go with her, wanting to stay in Chicago.
When his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Derrion doted on her, Walker said.
"He was 14 years old, and he would come home and take care of her," he said.A youth worker at Agape saw the beatings, and said she didn't thing Darrion even saw them coming:
His grandfather said he spent most evenings doing schoolwork on his computer. On the walls of the computer room, cheerful family photos surrounded a handwritten list of "Affirmations for Living" that Derrion wrote, Walker said.
"I would surround myself with people who bring out the best in me," the list reads. "I would rid myself of the negativity in my life, including friends and significant others. I would do something nice for someone, just because."
They had sticks; they were fighting with their hands; they were taking off their shirts and throwing them on the ground," she said. "I saw [Derrion] get hit twice with a stick."In the following video shared by ChicagoRay, you can see Darrion pulled into the building and you can hear, three times, some one screaming, "Darrion, Darrion." Please feel free to post the video on your own site. Just 15-years-old. It breaks my heart and leaves a heavy feeling on my chest. Visit ChicagoRay to see a second video that may be more explanatory as it has a news report with it, but does not show all of the people involved in the beatings. Warning: the video is violent, so be prepared. The phone number to call appears after the video.
She said Derrion fell to his knees, then was hit again in the head. He was unconscious but alive when she dragged him into the building with the help of a man driving through a nearby alley who abandoned his truck to assist.
A $6,000.00 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest. Police are asking for your help. Four suspects in Derrion's death are in custody, but three more need identifying so that arrests can be made. In every community, there is a phone number to leave anonymous tips. If you know something about this beating - especially if you were there, or if your child or friend told you what happened, call the anonymous tip line if you do not want to identified. What if this were your child, your brother, or your friend? You would want justice. Help bring justice to Darrion Albert's family.
We were prepared to raise millions to prepare the city for the Olympics. Without missing a beat, we should devote our energy to preparing the city for a new generation of Derrion Alberts.
This will not require new "infrastructure" and all the delay, bureaucracy and waste that often implies. It will require investment in a resource we have in abundant supply: Human beings.
We need to enforce safety, order and civility in our streets and schools, and act quickly. We need more crossing guards armed with cell phones. We need more police, who are heartbroken by the things they see, and need help. We need more teachers, and smaller classrooms.And this I believe is Ebert's most important point:
In neighborhoods plagued by gangs or feuding cliques of teenagers, we need to enlist adults to monitor the sidewalks outside their windows, and call immediately when they see trouble. Mayor Daley can do it.