Dantwain Betts

Age: 21
Date of Death: 4/30/2006

Officer kills driver in disputed shooting
May 01, 2006|By Tom Rybarczyk, Tribune staff reporter

A Chicago police officer shot and killed a man Sunday after he tried to run over another
officer with his car, officials said.
That account was corroborated by the female passenger in the car of Dantwain Betts, 21,
who police shot and killed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the intersection of West 100th
Street and South Lowe Avenue, authorities said.
But Betts’ family disputes the police account. They said witnesses have told them that
Betts hit the officer with his car only after he had been shot.
Betts, who was shot a block from his home, was pronounced dead on the scene, said the
Cook County medical examiner’s office.
An autopsy conducted Sunday revealed that Betts died of multiple gunshot wounds, and
his death was ruled a homicide.
Officers received a tip that Betts, who was a suspect in a carjacking, was in the area of
West 100th and South Wallace Street, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. There,
officers found his car and followed Betts to Lowe Avenue, where they parked their
unmarked squad car in front of Betts’ car.
The officers then surrounded his car and identified themselves as police, Bond said.
Instead of getting out of the car, Betts “disregarded the officers’ command and
accelerated the vehicle in reverse, running over the officer in the rear,” Bond said.
The officer was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Bond said, where
he was treated and released for an injury to his left leg.
The female passenger in the car, who was on a date with Betts at the time, Bond said, was
not injured.
The mandatory police roundtable discussion conducted later found that the officer was
justified in shooting Betts, Bond said.
But Betts’ cousin and sister through adoption, Robyn Latzzis, said witnesses in the
neighborhood told her that police opened fire first, prompting Betts to run over the
“He has been in trouble with the law before,” Latzzis said.
“He didn’t give the police any reason to fear for their lives.”
Betts’ criminal history includes a felony drug conviction and a weapons conviction.