Quick video release to calm down violent protests from Chicago fatal shooting

July 16, 2018

Four Chicago officers approached Harith Augustus, 37, outside a store. A female officer reached for his arm. There was a confrontation. An officer pointed to Augustus’ waist and he backed away. Three officers tried to grab his arms and he tried to get away, backed into a police cruiser as his shirt flew up and showed a gun.

The footage paused and zoomed in on the weapon. He then ran away and into the street as a police SUV drove up. He spinned and darted between the SUV and the police cruiser as he reached toward his waist. Police said Augustus became combative, and apparently got away from police. That’s when officers said they saw him reach for a weapon, and one of the officers opened fire, killing Augustus.

“It was some semiautomatic weapon. He also had magazines on him,” said Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller. Some rumors said Augustus had a concealed carry permit, but the police later determined that the man was carrying a semi-automatic weapon for which he did not have a concealed carry permit.

Protesters clashed with officers carrying batons, leading to arrests. People hurled rocks and bottles at officers.

Police ordered the release of the video much more quickly than normal to combat rumors that Augustus was unarmed when he was shot.
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At least four officers are shown approaching Augustus. A female officer reaches for his arm, starting a brief struggle.

Augustus is shoved with his back to a police vehicle. A freeze frame shows a holstered pistol and what appears to be an ammunition magazine. He gets away and flees to the street, where he appears to reach for the weapon. An officer shoots him an unknown number of times.

Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said he released the footage with rare speed to dispel rumors that Augustus was unarmed and to defuse public outrage in Chicago, where the shooting has prompted protests and confrontations with police.

“I have an obligation to this city, to the community, and to these police officers, to make sure this city is safe and calm,” Johnson said in a news conference. “We can’t have another night like that.”

After protesters clashed with police Saturday night at the scene of the shooting, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson quickly released a video Sunday, in an attempt to counter misinformation spread through social media that Augustus was unarmed.

Why did he decide to run? Of course, we will never know for sure. That’s even after police made the unprecedented decision to release body-camera video of the incident, less than 24 hours after it happened.

It’s been two days since 37-year-old Harith Augustus was shot and killed during a confrontation with Chicago police officers. An independent investigation into the shooting is underway, but several groups say they don’t trust it.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “We’re not trying to fluff anything. The video speaks for itself.”

While the footage appears to corroborate the police department’s version of events, there is no audio to determine what led to the confrontation.

“We need to know who the officer was who actually did this and they need to be held accountable,” said Maria Hernandez, Black Lives Matter.

Police have maintained that they shot Augustus only after he reached for a weapon under his shirt. The bodycam footage of the incident shows at least four officers approach Augustus. A brief struggle ensues after a female officer grabs his arm. He is then shoved with his back to a police vehicle.

At this point, police froze the image to show a holstered pistol and what appears to be an ammunition magazine. The video resume, showing Augustus getting away and waking into the street, where he appears to reach for the weapon. At that point one of the officers discharges their weapon several times, fatally wounding Augustus.



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