Chicago police fatally shoot man; protesters confronted officers

Photo courtesy of Chicago Police Department

July 15 (UPI) — A Chicago police officer fatally shot a man on Saturday, prompting demonstrations that stretched into Sunday morning.

The shooting took place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday after patrol officers on foot saw a black man who was “exhibiting characteristics of an armed person,” according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

“He looked like he may have something on him. They go to question him, and at that point a confrontation ensues and he is shot,” said Guglielmi.

On Sunday, he was identified as Harith Augustus, 37, of Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital at 5:50 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement from the medical examiner’s office.

Fred Waller, the chief of patrol for the Chicago police, told the New York Times the man tried to push officers’ hands away as they approached him.

“He started flailing and swinging away, trying to make an escape. And as he made an escape, he reached for the gun,” Waller said.

A gun and two ammunition magazines were recovered from the scene.

The initial encounter between officers and the man and possibly the moment of the shooting were captured by body cameras and police surveillance video, Guglielmi said. On Sunday, the department announced the footage would be released.

The officer who fired the shots will be placed on 30-day desk duty while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability conducts an investigation.

About an hour and a half after the shooting, a crowd of about 150 people formed at 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, as officers stood in a line to block off the area. Officers attempted to move the crowd back at about 7:40 p.m. by repositioning yellow police tape from one end of a squad car to the other and the crowd began shoving and chanting “murderers” at the officers.

Some demonstrators threw rocks and bottles, while officers dragged some members of the crowd to the ground or struck them with batons.

Officers cleared the shooting scene by 10:30 p.m. and Guglielmi said four officers were injured by rocks and bottles, four demonstrators were arrested and two squad cars were damaged.

Guglielmi said the initial response from the crowd was a result of “inaccurate information” about the shooting, stating the man was unarmed.

“There was some inaccurate information that the individual was unarmed,” he said. “We have cops out there, community affairs officers, trying to give them as much information as we can,” he said. “There were some members of the community who were upset. This is a tragic situation where an individual lost his life.”

A group of 200 people, including Black Lives Matter organizers, Citizen Police Accountability Council members and independent citizens driven to demonstrate against the fatal police shooting of a black man, gathered the Grand Crossing, or third district, police station at about 9:55 p.m.

Demonstrators maintained a position near the district’s entrance as crowd members passed around a megaphone and police did not come up to the barrier line or engage the protesters.

The demonstration ended at about 1:15 a.m. as protestors left the area.


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