Patrol

Body cam footage of fatal shooting released after unrest in Chicago

7,967

(Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO – Footage from body cameras and other surveillance video appeared to show that a black man who was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer was not only armed with a handgun, but reached for it as he resisted officers who confronted him, officials said Sunday.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Harith Augustus, 37, had a holstered semiautomatic handgun (and what appears to be extra magazines) tucked into his waistband when officers confronted him on the city’s South Side, reported Fox News.

The weapon can be clearly seen in the body cam footage. According to patrol chief Fred Waller, Augustus broke free and ran from the officers, who believed “he appeared to be reaching for a weapon” and shot him.

The video actually shows his hand on the weapon as if he were drawing it.

Police had sent the handgun and two magazines of bullets for testing, said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, who added that Augustus wasn’t a known gang member and had no recent arrest history.

Nevertheless, Augustus’ death sparked angry protests Saturday night. As a result, four protesters were arrested after scuffles broke out; some officers suffered minor injuries from thrown rocks and bottles, some filled with urine. Officers were required to use force to include pulling people to the ground and using batons. Moreover, two squad cars were also damaged during the melee.

Johnson told reporters he ordered the footage released to address any misinformation about the shooting and maintain calm in a bid to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s unrest.

“If we expect neighborhoods to cooperate with police, we need to do our part to remain transparent,” Johnson said.

Gloria Rainge, who lives in the area, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Augustus, known in the Grand Crossing neighborhood as “Snoop,” worked at a barbershop and had a 5-year-old daughter.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the shooting a tragedy and said in a statement that it was a blessing Augustus didn’t bring the girl with him Saturday, as he was known to do.

Police officers also believe the shooting was a tragedy precipitated by Augustus’ actions. Furthermore, law enforcement officers are thankful that Augustus did not get the drop on officers, which could have ended deadly for them.

This was the third OIS in the last two weeks in Chicago. Will release of the video calm the city? In the current atmosphere when facts seem inconsequential it’s highly questionable.

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