By Suzie Ziegler
CHICAGO — In a TV interview last year, Keith Thornton, Jr. recalled the tragic events that ended in the shooting death of Chicago police officer Ella French. Thornton was the 911 dispatcher on duty that August night and is credited with staying calm and deftly directing resources. Now, Thornton is speaking out once again – this time to condemn the state of juvenile crime in Chicago.
In a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, Thornton recounted the police response to a Saturday shooting at Millennium Park. A 16-year-old was killed and another teenager is charged with second-degree murder, NBC Chicago reported.
“Thousands of ruthless and parentless youth wreaked havoc all throughout Downtown,” Thornton wrote about Saturday’s shooting. “Chicago is in a death spiral and has quickly turned into a city that caters strictly to criminals who target the innocent.”
Thornton demanded greater accountability from parents.
“Many parents have stopped parenting,” he continued. “Make their parents get out of bed to collect their children. Make them go to court.”
Thornton also says police officers are “outnumbered” and operating with “limited manpower.”
The dispatcher ended his message by assuring residents that police, 911 dispatchers and other first responders will continue working to keep residents safe.