Last week, another young Black person's life was taken too soon in Chicago, this time by an off-duty Chicago Fire Department official. Charles Macklin, 17, was dear friend to many, including a teen member of Assata's Daughters, and the only son of his mother Linda Brent.
On Monday morning, August 21st, 2017, Charles was shot and killed by a 45 year old off-duty Chicago fire lieutenant whose name has not been released to the public. Multiple witnesses' accounts differ from the story authorities have told and media outlets are reporting. In many ways, the treatment of this case resembles a police-involved shooting: Charles' murder is being called "justifiable" because they allege he violated a law, the name of the shooter is being withheld, the shooter's version of events dominates headlines, and prosecutors have decided not to file charges--even though the formal investigation is still ongoing.
On Thursday of last week, prosecutors ruled Charles' death a 'justifiable homicide.' But as Charles' mother told us when we met with her last weekend, that framing is incredibly painful to hear and implies that Charles deserved to die over a car. "He can get another car--I can't get another son," Linda told us.
While Charles may have taken the fire lieutenant's vehicle for a joyride, the story of what happened at the moment of his death is not being told. Charles was shot close range in the lower chest, and there are no reported bullet holes in the car or windshield, supporting witnesses' statements that Charles was shot after he had already gotten out of the car. Charles's mother Linda told ABC7 news last week: "He killed my son on the street in the middle of the street. At close range. He put the gun into his chest and pulled the trigger,"
Charles was killed just one block from where he and his mother Linda live on the 5300 block of West LeMoyne in Chicago's Austin neighborhood.
While Charles' family grieves and pursues justice in the courts, we must show his friends and loved ones that we have their backs during this difficult time. Charles' funeral will take place this Friday, September 1st, and we are committed to supporting them in raising the funds necessary to hold a service and help lay him to rest. All donations made here will go directly to the costs associated with the funeral for Charles Macklin, and send a message to his family that they are not alone. Charles should still be here, and we refuse to allow Black death at the hands of the city to be covered up or forgotten.