Protests erupted in Chicago over the weekend after police fatally shot a black man — 37-year-old Harith Augustus — in the city's South Side. Demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles at dozens of police officers who were gathered around the crime scene, resulting in four arrests and four officer injuries, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The situation just severely escalated when Chicago Police officers moved their line forward. Officers hit multiple protestors with batons, and protesters punched officers back. I haven't seen a police shooting scene this tense since Laquon McDonald. pic.twitter.com/LfEnMP0k85
— Nader Issa (@NaderDIssa) July 15, 2018
Now, the Chicago Police Department has released body cam footage hoping it brings clarity to the community about the facts of the incident.
What's the background?
Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller explained officers were patrolling the city's South Side on foot when they spotted a black man "who they thought might be armed." Police approached the man, who then became combative and pushed officers away from him, Waller said, according to CNN.
During the confrontation, Waller said the man reached for a weapon at his waistband. Officers responded by drawing their sidearms and shooting the man. Waller said police recovered a firearm at the scene. However, he said the man never fired a weapon.
Chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told reporters a probationary officer with less than 2 years job experience shot and killed Augustus. The officers involved in the incident, which union contracts prohibits the department from publicly identifying, have been reassigned to administrative duties for 30 days pending the investigation.
What does the body cam footage show?
The 30-second video, which was released without audio, shows four officers approach Augustus outside a store in Chicago's South Side. One officer is seen pointing toward a "bulge" in Augustus' waist, a sign he is carrying a firearm.
When the three other officers surround Augustus, he attempts to flee. The video then pauses to show a holstered firearm on Augustus' waist. At that point, police draw their weapons.
Video shows that as Augustus runs away, his hands lower toward his waist. That's when police open fire, killing him. It's not clear if Augustus was reaching for the firearm, however, it is clear that he did not draw the firearm from its holster.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he released the body camera footage so quickly in hopes it would dispel false rumors surrounding the incident, such as the claim that Augustus was not armed.
"The community needs some answers and they need them now. We can’t have another night like last night," he said Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
Did Augustus have a firearm permit?
Johnson said Augustus had a valid firearm identification permit, but officers were unable to locate documentation that he was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Augustus also had no recent arrest history, police said.