Life
Gifts flood fallen officer’s car then people spot a tiny note that leaves everyone in tears
Irvine died while on duty in a car bad crash while pursuing an alleged drug dealer.
D.G. Sciortino
05.26.22

When Avant Turner heard that his “best friend” had died he says it was “the worst day of my life.”

His best friend wasn’t a fellow classmate, a cousin, or a neighbor.

It was a Milwaukee police officer named Charles Irvine Jr. The 12-year-old met Irvine after Irvine arrested Avant’s older brother. Irvine showed the young boy compassion and allowed the boy to confide in him.

“He used to be behind District 4. He used to ask me about school sometimes — was I doing good, and did I need his help for anything. He’s the only one who helped me out with like, school. For example, if someone was trying to pick on me and I couldn’t get a hold of a teacher, he’d tell me to walk past him and stuff,” said Avant said.

That impression was a lasting one because Avant began stopping by the District 4 headquarters on his way home from school just to talk with Irvine.

“He was the only person I could tell me secrets to. I can’t tell you my secrets. I can only tell him because he’s the only one that understands,” Avant told reporters from WISN 12 News.

Irvine died while on duty in a car bad crash while pursuing an alleged drug dealer.

Avant said he was devastated when he heard the news.

“First up, when I saw I started crying and then I went upstairs to go tell my mama, and then I went up in my room,” he said.

Avant eventually stopped by the station to visit Irvine’s memorial.

It was there that he left his friend a note that says: “Thank you for being my best friend and for helping me calm down.”

“That’s for him to remember me by,” Avant said.

He also left a toy car that he got for Christmas because he wanted his friend to have it.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on with cops again, where the community isn’t believing the officers, but you can find a lot of faith in some of them,” Avant’s mom, Latrice Jefferson, said after Irvine’s death in 2018. “You have to locate those people, and Officer Irvine was one of them.”

Jefferson said she was nervous about the void Irvine’s absence would leave in her son’s life.

“He’s not going to be there, and this is not the person he’s going to see next year when he walks to school,” said Latrice Jefferson, Avant’s mom.

Thankfully, there are other officers and members of the community willing to step in for Irvine. Community organizer Tracey Dent of Peace for Change Alliance railed together the community and officers of District 4 to assure Jefferson and her son that there are still people who care for Avant.

“He said that I’m welcome anytime, to come to District number four for any problems or anything,” Avant said. “He said I can speak to him like I speak to Irvine.”

Avant says he hopes to be a police officer just like his best friend when he grows up.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
Dina is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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