BLM Springfield calls for justice for Chatham man shot by police

Gregory Small, Jr. (Photo via Facebook)

Black Lives Matter Springfield is calling for justice for a man who was shot by police while in a mental health crisis.

Gregory Small, Jr. of Chatham was attempting suicide during a manic episode in early March 2021. His mother called 911 when she saw him cutting himself. When police arrived, he was shot four times and was sent to the hospital in critical condition. Small is recovering but has had multiple surgeries. He has been charged with aggravated assault.

The Chatham Police Department posted on May 27 that Small had been a danger to himself and others, stating that Small had advanced toward the officer with a knife. The police department also included the 911 call and dashcam video on the post.

The officer was cleared of wrongdoing by a Illinois State Police investigation.

Small’s family has called for the charges to be dropped.

“It’s wrong for someone who is in a mental health crisis to walk away with four bullet holes and a criminal record. The trauma from this event will likely follow him for the rest of this life,” said Sunshine Clemons, Small’s older sister and the co-chair of BLM Springfield. “Criminal charges would only add to that trauma and could negatively change the course of my brother’s life including his employment opportunities, renting or buying a home, his ability to vote, and succeeding in life.”

The family is encouraging others to share their stories on social media with the hashtag #SpeakOutForGregory. 

Follow Speak Out For Gregory on Facebook for more information.