TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins recently shared a series of social media posts claiming that Eddie Russell, a cousin of hers with a mental illness, was shot 18 times by the police.
"My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head!" part of her Instagram post read. "He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he's ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT!"
According to a Facebook post by the Peoria Police Department, police officers responded to a bank robbery report at First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust at 12:49 p.m. on Sept. 20 and the suspect "ran westbound towards the neighboring residential area after the robbery." The officers identified the suspect as Russell, 25, from the bank's surveillance video.
The Facebook post continued to state that the officers "responded to a possible address for Russell" and that they "attempted to contact Russell for over 2 hours." Then, at approximately 2:25 p.m., the Peoria Police Special Response Team responded to the scene. The post stated that Russell "emerged from his home and aggressively advanced toward SRT officers with a handgun" around 3:46 p.m. He was then shot. The post stated that "Emergency medical personnel were on scene and provided medical treatment." However, "Russell was pronounced deceased at the scene."
The post also stated that, based on the gathered evidence, "approximately 18 shots were fired, which is consistent with the coroner's finding that Russell was struck 17—20 times." In addition, the post stated that "the handgun Russell was armed with during the shooting incident matches the description of the gun he used during the Bank Robbery at First Mid-Illinois Bank & Trust."
However, Watkins' details of the incident are different.
According to her Instagram post, "The cops told [Russell's] mother to call him out on a bullhorn" and told her "'WE WILL GIVE HIM THE HELP HE NEEDS.'" She then wrote that Russell "Came Out Because He Heard His Mother" and that the police officers "used beyond excessive force to gun him down also with heavy artillery used in warfare!"
She claimed that her cousin was shot with an AR15 on Twitter.
Watkins also disputed the claim that Russell was holding a gun and shared a picture of her cousin.
"They Keep saying he had a gun! I don't see a gun in his hand at the bank they say he tried to rob!" she wrote. "That's NOT A GUN!"
In addition, Watkins said that the police "blocked everyone off including neighbors at a 4 block radius including his mother and father and family!" She also wrote that "People could NOT go home! So no camera phones accessible is that why? COPS DIDN'T HAVE ON BODY CAMS now isn't that convenient!"
Furthermore, Watkins wrote that the police "Lied and told family members Eddie Jr was at the hospital to get them away from the house knowing he was dead outside the house where they killed him!"
"They kept his BODY OUTSIDE ON THE GROUND FOR MANY MANY HOURS!" she continued.
She also said that the police "didn't even wait for the negotiator to arrive" and that "They haven't Even Gave my cousin the RESPECT of trying to call and explain WHAT HAPPENED IN DETAIL TO HER CHILD!"
At the end of the post, Watkins called for justice.
"He needs JUSTICE! His Mother and Father and Family need JUSTICE!!!!" she wrote near the end of her post. "This wasn't a hostage situation! He didn't threaten anyone's life! This was a mentally iLL young man who needed help and should have received just that! PLEASE HELP HIS MOTHER AND SPREAD HER STORY SO SHE CAN GET THE HELP SHE NEEDS AND JUSTICE FOR HER SON!!!! His Mother Has Tried For Many Years To Get Her Son Mental Health Counseling He Needed! The system Failed Him and Her! #AmericaIsTainted #TrumpIsAChump #TakeAKnee #BendAKnee #JusticeForEddieJr #Shot18Times #tboz #tlc #tbeezy #tlcarmy #justice #peoriaillinois #EddieRussell."
Watkins also tweeted about the incident. Here are just a few of her tweets.
Here's Watkins' full Instagram post.
The Facebook post also revealed that "No police officers or civilians were injured in the incident" and that "As standard practice the 6 officers who fired their weapons were placed on critical incident leave."