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Carrington, Kiwane Albert (1994-2009)

Image Ownership: Public domain

Born in Champaign, Illinois on July 14, 1994, Kiwane Carrington was 15-years-old when he was shot and killed by a Champaign police officer in 2009. The son of Rita Williams and Albert Carrington, he was a student at the READY Program School where he enjoyed working on computers and playing basketball.

Carrington’s mother Rita Williams passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008, and Rhonda Williams, his aunt, had welcomed him into her home. On October 9, a rainy October afternoon, Carrington realized he had forgotten his key to his aunt’s house. His class for the Regional Educational Alternative for Developing Youth program was canceled for the day and he had no other plans. Locked out of that home, Carrington and his friend, Jeshaun Manning-Carter, made their way to the backyard with hopes of finding cover to get out of the rain.

A suspicious neighbor noticed the two teens and assumed they were attempting to burglarize the home. They called the police and reported a burglary in-progress. Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney was the first to respond to the call and found the two boys in the backyard. Finney shouted and demanded that they get on the ground of the muddy yard. Knowing that he and his friend had done nothing wrong, Kiwane Carrington attempted to walk away. It is reported that Finney grabbed Carrington, initiating a physical struggle between the two.

Officer Daniel Norbits, a 14-year veteran of the Champaign police force, arrived at the Williams home shortly after. Norbit claimed he was unaware if either of the boys were in possession of weapons and drew his pistol as a precaution. Within moments of having drawn his weapon, a bullet had pierced through Carrington’s left elbow and into his heart. Within an hour of the initial confrontation, Carrington died at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. Later, Champaign County’s State Attorney, Julia Reitz, announced Norbits would not be charged since the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence that he intentionally fired his weapon.

It was later discovered that Officer Norbits was also involved in the Greg Brown case in 2000, where Champaign police officers physically beat Brown, a disabled man, in an alley.  Brown later died of a heart attack because of the beating.

On October 14, 2009, a vigil was held outside of Rhonda Williams’s home to honor the life of her nephew, Kiwane Carrington. Hundreds of youth and community members showed up in attendance to pay their respects to their fallen friend and loved one.

In October 2010, Jeshaun Manning-Carter filed a law suit against the city of Champaign. In the suit, Manning-Carter and his mother contended that Chief Finney was the one guilty of shooting and killing Carrington, not Norbits. All six counts of the lawsuit were later dismissed by Judge Michael Q. Jones. The Kiwane Carrington case helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sources:
Brian Dolinar, “Why was Kiwane killed?,” SocialistWorker.org, October 20 2009, https://socialistworker.org/2009/10/20/why-was-kiwane-killed; “Kiwane Carrington Obituary,” The Champaign News-Gazette, October 14 2009, http://www.news-gazette.com/obituaries/2009-10-14/kiwane-carrington.html; “Kiwane Carrington’s death an accident,” The Daily Illini, December 8, 2009, https://dailyillini.com/local/2009/12/08/kiwane-carringtons-death-an-accident/; “Teen Arrested Following Fatal 2009 Shooting Contends Champaign Police Chief Fired Shot,” Illinois Public Media News, October 13 2010, https://will.illinois.edu/news/story/teen-arrested-following-fatal-2009-shooting-contends-champaign-police-chief.

Contributor:

University of Washington, Seattle

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