Dorothy Holmes reflects on her unending struggle for justice for her son, Ronald Johnson, on the sixth anniversary of his murder by Chicago police.
I miss you my son, so much. I wish this pain on no one. This is a nightmare. Trust and believe me when I say this. I had to ask another mother: How? How do you deal with this? She said one day at a time, but it’s not easy. You still look for that one person to show up at the family gathering, you’re waiting on your phone to ring, for them to come through the door, waiting to hear that voice, that laugh, but all that has been taken away by the police.
I’m OK until it gets to the fall. Then that’s when it takes me back to when it happened. The last couple of weeks have been a struggle, remembering the last time I talked to him before the time he passed. The pain is still there. The struggle every day, living is still hard. Oh my god. Some days are so hard for me. I just lay around the house in tears. I miss my son so much. The hole in my heart will always be there, will never heal, and the tears will always be here.
Do the police know what this does to a family when they murder our kids? How can you take a person’s life and then offer them a settlement like that’s going to take the pain away? But at the same time, when you take that money, that’s when they come with the gag order. You’re not gonna tell me what to say about my son because you gave me some money. You’re not going to ever do that.
How could you jump out of a police car and murder someone less than two seconds later, and the police department and everyone cover it up? Just how do you people live and sleep at night? No remorse at all, no guilt or anything.
It seems like when the police do harm, they’re always in the right. They figure they’ll give ’em desk duty until the case is over, but then they’re right back on the street. Or they send ’em to another precinct as if the family isn’t going to figure out what precinct they sent them to.
Right now, the way my mind set up, there’s no justice. Everybody’s talking about getting out the vote. Who the fuck are we voting for? Whoever wins, wins. They gonna do what they want to anyway. One thing I can do on my behalf is keep his memory alive, keep his name alive, no matter what the city says. That’s going to be my fight.
They indict who they want to indict. I was looking at the case that happened just after the cop who murdered Philando Castile got acquitted in Minneapolis, where a Black police officer killed a white lady. Justine Damond had called police saying she heard something in her alley and thought maybe a woman was being assaulted and she got shot and killed by the police when they showed up. They convicted the Black cop, Mohamed Noor. He claimed self-defense like they always do and still they actually convicted him.
But the officers who killed George Floyd probably won’t get convicted. The ones who killed Breonna Taylor didn’t get prosecuted. The one that did get charges didn’t get them for killing her, but for shooting, period. They giving the officers slaps on the wrists. And us as citizens are getting tired of it.
They figure that our way of fighting back is to start tearing up the cities. But when Rekia got killed, nobody rioted. When my son got killed, nobody rioted. Laquan McDonald, Roshad McIntosh, nobody rioted. So we have our own Breonna Taylors here in Chicago, George Floyds here in Chicago, still no justice on any of it. Just a payout to the family. You can only take so much.
We all know the police are the biggest gang in the city of Chicago. The police do what they want and the people let them because they feel they don’t have the power. No they don’t. I don’t care what badge you’ve got, you’ve got to give respect to get it. That’s how I was brought up.
We deserve to be treated like human beings, not animals, by Chicago police. We need the people in office to do their jobs and stop these police from doing evil things and getting away with it.
One bad cop makes it bad for the other ones. They want us to do their job when we see a crime being committed, but they won’t tell on their partner when he’s doing wrong? The way I see it, all of them are guilty. All those cops who stand by and do nothing while their buddies shoot us, assault us, unjustly arrest us, they’re just as much to blame. I don’t have any respect for police.
Grieving can also be a cause of death due to the pain, stress, and a wound that will never heal. My prayers and condolences go out to the families that lost a child to the violence here in this city where the system does whatever they want to our people. I’m glad I can remember back from the time he was born ’til the time his life was taken. I thank God for the twenty-five years and nine months my grandkids and I spent with RonnieMan. Yes, my son is truly missed by many.
His two sisters miss him so much. I see the pain in them but they try their best to stay strong for me. I love my girls dearly. Lord knows without them I would have given up the fight. Everyone that knows me knows my kids are my world. The police divided my family in half and I hope their families never feel that pain that me and my family and my daughters feel. CPD destroyed our family.
Rest well, RonnieMan. We love you, and you will never be forgotten.
Dorothy Holmes is a leading fighter in the movement to end police violence. She has spent the last five years marching, organizing, and speaking out all around the city, across the country, and internationally, alongside a growing network of family members of loved ones killed by police