Chicago Police Release Bodycam Footage Of Deadly Shooting
Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET
Protests in Chicago escalated on Saturday night, becoming a tense clash between demonstrators and police over the fatal shooting of a man on the city's South Side.
On Sunday, police released a 30-second video clip from an officer's body-worn camera showing a black man shot by Chicago police had a gun in a holster at his hip. According to The Associated Press, the man was "running away and reaching toward his waist when he was shot multiple times."
The AP reports four officers are seen in the video approaching the man outside a store:
"An officer points to Augustus' waist and he backs away. Three officers try to grab his arms and he tries to get away, backing into a police cruiser as his shirt flies up and shows the gun.
"The footage pauses and zooms in on the weapon. He then runs away and into the street as a police SUV drives up. He spins and darts between the SUV and the police cruiser as he reaches toward his waist.
The medical examiner has identified the deceased as 37-year-old Harith Augustus.
The original story continues below
The Chicago Tribune described a chaotic scene:
"The shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. at 2098 E. 71st St., and it took police about five hours to bring things under control. Some people screamed "murderers" as officers lined up against them. Some in the crowd held cameras up to take video, while others behind them threw rocks and glass bottles, some filled with urine.
"As officers tried to contain the crowd, some of them dragged people to the ground or struck them with batons. Other officers held batons over their heads to ward off people yelling at them."
A reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times, Nader Issa, tweeted that he was "repeatedly pushed" by police officers,and that officers also smacked his phone out of his hands.
The shooting that sparked the protest was described by the Chicago Police Department in a preliminary statement. The department said officers on foot patrol Saturday evening "approached a male subject exhibiting characteristics of an armed person." Some people on Twitter latched onto that language:
The statement went on to say that "an armed confrontation ensued resulting in an officer discharging his weapon and fatally striking the offender." The man was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. The department says a weapon was recovered at the scene, but that no other injuries were reported.
The chief communications officer for the Chicago Police, Anthony Guglielmi, said on his official Twitter account that several officers were injured from rocks and thrown bottles, and four demonstrators were arrested. There were no further details given about the charges.
The department said the shooting remains under investigation and that any officers involved will be placed on "routine administrative duties for a period 30 days." The statement also said there will be a use of force investigation.
Resident Zachary Williams told reporters that the man who was killed was a barber and a respected member of the community.
"The police are supposed to know the difference between who's a criminal and
who's just walking to their job or trying to get some food, that's their job," Williams said.
As USA Today reported, Chicago has a troubled history of police shootings and misconduct:
The city saw weeks of peaceful protest in 2015 after the release of a video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke was charged with murder. McDonald's death led to the ouster of the police chief and a series of reforms designed to prevent future police abuses and to hold officers accountable for excesses.
Van Dyke is awaiting trial.
A 2017 Justice Department review found Chicago officers used force nearly 10 times more in incidents involving black suspects than against white suspects. African-Americans were the subject of 80% of all police firearm uses and 81% of all Taser contact-stun uses between January 2011 and April 2016. Of incidents where use of force was used against a minor, 83% involved black children and 14% involved Latino children during the same time-period, the report notes.
Chicago has also spent about $709 million on settlements for police misconduct cases, according to a recent report from the Action Center on Race & the Economy.
The Chicago Tribune reports that protests will resume Sunday night.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.