by G. Brown
It’s the kind of the story that might have been hidden on page six of newspapers and not covered by TV News at all if not for the name of a celebrity linked to the victim. As fate would have it, the man shot to death by police in Peoria Illinois was not only an alleged case of mistaken identity, but the cousin of a singer in the 90s group TLC. Now, singer Tionne T-Boz” Watkins says she wants justice for her 25 year old cousin Eddie Russell Jr..
Pagesix reports “Russell was shot, per police, a total of 17 to 20 times by six responding officers, none of whom was injured. Russell was pronounced dead at the scene…”
Watkins is furious over what happened to her cousin and doesn’t believe what police are claiming was the cause of his death.
Police say they identified Russell as the suspect in a bank robbery after reviewing surveillance video. Police also claim they tried to contact Russell for two hours before finally dispatching a Special Response Team. Pagesix says police claim, “Russell emerged from his home and aggressively advanced toward SRT officers with a handgun.” Cops said that the handgun Russell was allegedly carrying at the time of the shooting matched the description of the weapon used to rob the bank.”
Watkins refutes the police story saying, “They say my cousin had a gun! Whatever he is holding isn’t a gun! And they used his Mother to bring him out telling her since he was mentally ill he’ll get the help he needs! He came out because he heard his mother and they murdered him.” Watkins continues saying, “No matter what they SAY he did they shot him 18 times he NEVER had a violent record or harmed ANYONE! Not even the day he was shot … I’ve watched this story change so many times right before my eyes! Jr. Was a sweet harmless young man with mental issues he couldn’t help … He NEVER DESERVED TO GET SHOT 18 times with AR 15’s No one was being held hostage! But one thing we can ALL SEE that doesn’t look like a gun.”
Watkins’ family is now preparing to sue the police department for Russell’s death which they claim was a wrongful death that denied him justice. Watkins has been very vocal about the injustice she sees in this case. She was touring with her group TLC, but has reportedly canceled the European leg of that tour.
Do you agree with Watkins and her family that Russell was lured to his death by police? Do you think they should sue the police? Do you think more victims of questionable police shootings should pursue the same legal avenue?