CHICAGO (STMW) - The mother of Quintonio LeGrier — the teen shot and killed last weekend by Chicago Police — is insisting state child-welfare officials were wrong to remove the boy from her care when he was 5 years old, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“DCFS did me wrong,” Janet M. Cooksey said Wednesday, reacting to a Sun-Times story that detailed how her son became a ward of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and lived for 12 years with a foster mom who became his legal guardian. “Nobody wanted to do their job. . . . You’re dealing with liars.”
A spokeswoman for DCFS declined to comment.
LeGrier, a 19-year-old Northern Illinois University student, went into foster care in 2002, the same year Cooksey accused his father, Antonio LeGrier, of sexually abusing him, the Sun-Times reported.
A DCFS investigation cleared the elder LeGrier of any wrongdoing. But abuse allegations against Cooksey led to Quintonio LeGrier spending the rest of his childhood with Mary Strenger, the foster mother who was named his legal guardian in December 2008, when he was 12.
DCFS began investigating Cooksey in April 2002 after her son’s school reported “abrasions to his face and back of his head,” according to child-welfare records. A few months later, in July, child-welfare workers had police remove him from his mother’s care after Cooksey called a caseworker “and told her that she could not stand it any longer and that she was going to kill her son.”
Cooksey on Wednesday vehemently denied ever abusing her son and said the allegations she leveled against Antonio LeGrier were true. “Give me a lie detector test,” she said.
She also said she had a good relationship with her son, who graduated from Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep high school in 2014 and played on the school’s baseball team.
“I treat my child right,” she said.
Quintonio LeGrier was shot about 4:30 a.m. Saturday as police arrived at his father’s home in the 4700 block of West Erie in response to two 911 calls about a dispute that involved the teen wielding a baseball bat. LeGrier died after being shot multiple times; 55-year-old Bettie Jones, a bystander who lived in an apartment beneath LeGrier’s father, was accidentally killed when she opened the door to let officers in.
Antonio LeGrier — who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city — has acknowledged Quintonio had been struggling with emotional problems but denied his son’s actions warranted an officer opening fire. LeGrier had had three run-ins with NIU police this year, including a battery arrest in which he was accused of striking a university cafeteria worker.
Cooksey has blasted the police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, saying her son had a bright future cut short by police bullets. “I want his name cleared,” she said.