RACINE — It was a solemn, yet simple message Thursday night as friends, family and community members gathered at the corner of Racine and 20th streets to remember Tyrese West.
“We want justice for Tyrese,” community advocate Tory Lowe said in his speech to those in attendance. “We want answers, and the only way we’re going to get the answers is if we demand the answers.”
The Racine Police Department, in coordination with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office, blocked off Racine and 20th streets all the way to Racine and 25th streets, so that community members could peacefully march without interfering with traffic.
West, 18, was shot and killed by a Mount Pleasant police officer early Saturday in the 2500 block of Racine Street. According to Lowe, West was shot many timews, including took two rounds to the head, but investigators have not released any such details regarding the incident.
“Tyrese was stopped for riding a bike,” Lowe said. “And he ended up with two shots in his head. How do we know that he got two shots in his head? Because the body was released to the family. This wasn’t told to us. We saw it.
“We all know what two shots to the head means ... from a bicycle stop.”
According to a Racine Police Department press release, preliminary investigation indicated that the Mount Pleasant officer attempted to make contact with West who was riding a bicycle in the dark without lights at about 1:35 a.m. Saturday. Police had also been aware of reports of thefts in the area by suspects on bicycles. West allegedly fled from police and following a short foot pursuit, the officer observed that West was armed.
Less-lethal attempts to address the threat were unsuccessful, and commands issued to West were allegedly ignored. Lethal force was used to address the threat of the uncooperative individual, Racine Police Deputy Chief Todd Schulz said in a news release on Saturday.
Racine Police are investigating the case as an outside agency.
West’s father, Dwight Person, had only one comment to make after being asked what his son meant to him.
“I don’t want to speak about that,” he said. “The only thing I want to talk about is the audio and the video (on the officer’s body camera).”
It is still unclear whether any body camera audio or video exists or even whether the officer was wearing a body camera.
West’s mother, Monique, said she wasn’t ready to talk about her son.
Lowe concluded his speech with an impassioned message:
“When (Tyrese’s body) came back, what made me sick to my stomach was that he got two shots, for being pulled over for riding a bike,” he said. “They stopped him because he didn’t have a headlight (on his bike). I should be in jail right now, because I ride my bike without a headlight all the time.”