TLC singer Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins has called for the police officers who shot her cousin dead to be brought to justice.
Eddie Russell, Jr., 25, died after being shot by officers 18 times outside his home in Peoria, Illinois, last Wednesday (20Sep17). The police believed he was a suspect in an armed bank robbery.
T-Boz, 47, and other members of Russell’s family claim he suffered from mental health issues and posed no threat to officers.
In a post on Instagram she wrote, “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! Anything he’s ever Done Was minor (sic) and NON VIOLENT!”
In a statement posted Facebook, Peoria Police Department officials stated that Russell was shot after he, “emerged from his home and aggressively advanced toward SRT (Special reaction team) officers with a handgun.”
They claim the gun Russell was allegedly carrying when he was shot matches the description of the firearm used by the suspect during the robbery.
T-Boz has accused officers of lying in their statement, claiming her cousin was not in possession of a gun.
She also accused officers of lying to family members and telling them Russell had been taken to hospital in order to keep them away from the scene – and of using excessive force by shooting him 18 times.
The Waterfalls singer asked fans to spread the word about the incident to help Russell’s family hold officers to account for his death.
She wrote, “He needs JUSTICE! His Mother and Father and Family need JUSTICE!!!! This wasn’t a hostage situation! He didn’t threaten anyone’s life! This was a mentally iLL (sic) young man who needed help and should have received just that!
T-Boz stated that Russell’s mother had been attempting to get her son mental health counselling.
Officials from the Illinois State Police department are investigating Russell’s death.