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Public continues to criticize Flossmoor police response that led to death of Madeline Miller

For the second straight Flossmoor Village Board meeting, public comment was dominated by criticism of the village’s police department and demands for administrators to do more in the wake of Madeline Miller’s death.

Miller was killed July 10 by police responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at 1437 Joyce Drive. On July 18, local residents, activists and Miller’s family protested outside village hall and commented at that evening’s board meeting.

The scene was similar at the Monday, Aug. 1 meeting, where Lewis Spells, a brother of Madeline Miller, started public comment. He questioned the village’s transparency, criticized how Miller was treated and demanded that police be held accountable for her death.

“We preach and talk about this year after year, about Black people getting killed, and nothing’s done about it,” Spells said. “The same thing happens over and over again.”


Iletha Hudson, one of Miller’s sisters, said the family has been “devastated” and “paralyzed” by her death.

“My sister did not have to be killed,” Hudson said. “Police could have used other tactics. … We just wish that the police officers anywhere at all across America would just use other deescalation tactics when it comes to Black people. We just wish those cops would have looked at Madeline as if that was their wife, their mother, their grandmother.”

In a video of the incident, someone with a walker opens the door to the residence for two officers and another person inside the home yells, “she’s trying to kill me.”

According to police: “Miller emerged from around a corner – armed with a large kitchen knife – and quickly ran at the officers with the knife pointed in their direction. The officers retreated back into the driveway, commanding Miller to drop the knife, but she ignored the directions and continued to advance toward the officers at a quick pace.”

Officers fired a total of three shots, and Miller collapsed in the driveway. She was taken to Advocate South Suburban Hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased, police said.

On Aug. 1, several speakers again demanded an administrative investigation into the Flossmoor Police Department regarding racial inequality in traffic stops, use of force and ticketing. They called for better training related to mental health and crisis intervention, as well as involvement with the Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets (CAHOOTS) program.

“We want to deal with the deescalation tactics that don’t exist when it comes to Black people, because we’re considered as animals,” La’Shawn Littrice said. “I know the gentleman before me said you shot her like a dog. No, you all treat dogs better.”

Speakers also questioned how long an Illinois State Police investigation can take. They called upon the board to recognize the pain of Miller’s family and do more.

Before public comment, Mayor Michelle Nelson addressed the crowd assembled, recounting the rules of public comment and promising that more information regarding the incident will be made available when possible.

“Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family and everyone involved,” Nelson said. “We are transparent with all we do as a village and will continue to communicate openly.”

But Nelson said the board “cannot engage in a dialogue” about the incident at the meeting, which is still under an active investigation by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force. No trustees publicly responded to the comments made at the meeting.

“The topic of mental health is an increasing concern for public responders across the country, and Flossmoor is no different,” Nelson added. “Our department meets its required training as mandated by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards [Board], and the details of that can be found on our website. Continuing to identify additional resources for our first responders remains a goal.”

Cari Anderson ended the official public comment section of the meeting, noting she wants to see this discussion continue for as long as it takes to heal the community. Anderson also asked trustees to share where they stand on what the community can do to help Miller’s family and better address mental health.

“We cannot keep doing things the way we are doing them,” Anderson said.

Public comment, at the discretion of Nelson, went approximately 19 minutes longer than the 30 minutes allotted by policy. After it concluded, attendees started chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Madeline Miller” as the board tried to continue with its regular business.

The village board quickly called for a recess and left the boardroom for more than 25 minutes as the crowd continued chants, including “Say her name: Madeline Miller” and “No justice, no peace … no racist police.”

Police officers were stationed outside the boardroom and at some points inside in the room during the chants but did not engage with demonstrators. The protesters ultimately left on their own accord, and the meeting resumed shortly thereafter.

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