TLC singer Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins has taken to social media to call for justice for her cousin, Eddie Russell Jr., a man with mental illness who was shot and killed by Illinois police last week. T-Boz alleges the police have lied to her and her family about multiple factors in Russell's death.
"My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head," she wrote in a heartbreaking Instagram post. "He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT! Anything he's ever Done Was minor and NON VIOLENT! Eddie Russell Jr -A Human-Being -A Son- Brother-Friend-Nephew - Cousin-HUMAN!"
Police claimed in a statement that Russell was a suspect in an armed bank robbery, but hid in his home for two hours as police tried to lure him outside. Police say when he exited the home, he "aggressively advanced toward SRT officers with a handgun." T-Boz says Russell was not armed. She also accuses police of getting Russell to leave the house by telling him they would "give him the help he needs."
"He Came Out Because He Heard His Mother and They used beyond excessive force to gun him down also with heavy artillery used in warfare," she wrote. "18 times? Shot eighteen times??? IF THEIR GOING ON WHAT HES HOLDING AT THE BANK THAT ISN'T A GUN...They Keep saying he had a gun! I don't see a gun in his hand at the bank they say he tried to rob! That's NOT A GUN!"
T-Boz also says police lied to Russell's family after his death. They allegedly "lied and told family members Eddie Jr was at the hospital to get them away from the house knowing he was dead," she said, also claiming that police left his body outside for hours.
In her post, T-Boz asks for support from fans in getting justice for Russell and his family.
"This wasn't a hostage situation!" she wrote. "He didn't threaten anyone's life! This was a mentally iLL young man who needed help and should have received just that!"
It's a truly horrifying situation, and we only hope the truth comes to light.