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Dozens calling for 'Justice for Deshawn' gather in Rock Island for peaceful protest

In the wake of a deadly officer-involved shooting, people gathered at the Rock Island Police Department and the Rock Island County Justice Center Monday morning.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — A crowd calling for justice in the wake of a deadly officer-involved shooting gathered at the Rock Island Police Department and the Rock Island County Justice Center Monday morning, April 12.

Dozens of people showed up at these public buildings holding large signs that said "Justice for Deshawn".

Credit: Peaceful protest at Rock Island Police Department on Monday, April 12. (Submitted photo)

Deshawn Tatum was a 25-year-old Rock Island man who was shot and killed in a pursuit by police at the Kum and Shop gas station Thursday, April 1.  

"We haven't gotten any answers as far as what's been going on," said family friend Ruby Jones, who was at Monday's gathering.  

"We basically came here for a peaceful protest," she explained. "All we want is justice for Deshawn, that's all we're down here for. We’re not down here to harm anyone, to do anymore damage than what’s already been done. Yeah we’re just here for the justice, that’s it."

As of Thursday, April 8 - one week after the shooting - the investigation had been handed off to the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office and the Rock Island County Integrity Task Force (ITF). A statement from the ITF explained that because this investigation remains active, surveillance and body camera footage are not yet being released.

"Both the State’s Attorney’s Office and the ITF are committed to a thorough, transparent investigation of such a serious incident and will continue to keep the public informed as more evidence can be released," said the statement. "This was a very tragic event for our entire community and we ask for patience as this careful process unfolds."

Ruby said the group planned to continue their peaceful protesting Tuesday at 10 a.m., and would plan more in the future "until things change." 

Deshawn passed away on April 1 at a nearby hospital after being shot by officers, according to statement from the Rock Island Police Department. 

Police said officers were pursuing Deshawn near 12th Street and 31st Avenue because he was, according to the department, "a known wanted suspect, who was considered armed and dangerous." 

At the gas station, police said Deshawn hijacked a car and started driving in reverse, dragging officers as they attempted to pull him from the car.  The car then crashed into the building, and at this time "multiple officers fired their weapons," read the statement. 

The Rock Island County coroner confirmed the preliminary cause of death was determined to be gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call ITF, at 309-752-4915. 

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