Police Shooting in Chicago Rouses Community's Anger
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Police Shooting in Chicago Rouses Community's Anger


CHICAGO, IL — July 17, 2018

A fatal shooting by Chicago police Saturday afternoon fueled a violent clash between officers and a large crowd of onlookers who threw bottles and rocks at cops, who swung back with batons.

It happened after a fatal encounter with an African-American man. Police said the man, identified as Harith Augustus, was "exhibiting characteristics of an armed person."

They went to question him and a dispute broke out between the officers involved and Augustus. "He looked like he may have something on him," Anthony Guglielmi, Chief Communications Officer for the Chicago PD, said.

As a result, the man suffered several gunshot wounds. He was transported to Jackson Park Hospital where he was pronounced dead later. A gun and two clips of ammunition were recovered from the scene.

His friend and colleague, Antoine Howell, 42, said that they worked at the same barbershop for about three years. He confessed that he loved that guy.

"Augustus was supposed to attend my bachelor party Saturday night. He had just given a haircut in preparation for the celebration, and then had headed out to buy cigarettes and change his clothes," Howell said.

Around 10:30 p.m. next day, Chief Communications Officer for the Chicago Police Department, Anthony Guglielmi, said officers had "cleared the crime scene."

People stayed at the crime scene and near the police station for almost a day. They demanded legal proceedings to uncover the truth about what had actually happened in the lead-up to the shooting.

An hour and a half after the shooting, there were about 150 people from the community at the intersection of 71st Street and Chappel Avenue. Officers lined up to block the area off. The crowd was kept back near the parking lot of the Jeffery Plaza strip mall.

As officers tried to contain the crowd, some of them dragged people to the ground or struck them with batons.

Some people screamed "murderers" as officers lined up against them. Some in the crowd held cameras and phones up to record video, while others behind them threw rocks and glass bottles, some filled with urine.

"You violent mother-------," one woman in the crowd screamed.

Over the course of the first three hours, protesters' chants included "No justice, no peace," "Ain't no justice in this town," "How you spell racist? CPD" and "Cops and crime go hand in hand."

One woman said her father had been a 3rd District cop, and she wanted them to know she didn’t hate the police. She urged them to rethink their training and not send officers into neighborhoods where they’re afraid of the people.

Trina Porter, who lives less than a half-mile away from the scene of the shooting, said she felt afraid when police started "getting aggressive."

"We want justice," Porter said. "We just went through that."

Nader Issa, crime reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, tweeted out:

"A lot of people are upset, a lot of people are frustrated, they're emotional," said community activist Lamon Reccord, 19. "When this is all over, they’re going to look back and start thinking. … We act with our emotions and think about it later."

“This is not even over,” Maria Hernandez, 27, said. “Tomorrow we’re going to be having a meeting … to talk about what we really need to do to move this forward and bring justice to our people and our community. We will fight until the end.”

One of the officers fell down. Some officers drew their batons, holding them horizontally, as they pushed. It took about five hours for the police to bring things under control.

"Four officers were injured from rocks and thrown bottles," Guglielmi said. "Four demonstrators were arrested." Two squad cars sustained minor damage.

Issa, who was at the protest near the police station, said he was hit by officers. They also smacked his phone out of his hand.

"I have my press badge on and identified myself as a reporter, but I got shoved to the ground by two cops who smacked my phone out of my hand," he tweeted.

According to Officer Ronald Westbrooks, a Chicago police spokesman, there was some inaccurate information about Augustus being unarmed.

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

Misdemeanor charges were pending Sunday morning against one of the demonstrators. The officer who killed an unarmed man was placed on 30-day desk duty while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates.

Saturday was at least the third time in two weeks that a Chicago police officer has discharged his weapon. And the location is blocks away from another fatal police shooting about three years ago. Alfontish Cockerham, 23, died five days after police shot him in June 2015 near the 7000 block of South Merrill Avenue.

There have been 102 shootings and 15 fatalities in Chicago since the start of the July 4th weekend, according to police. Most of the shootings happened on the South and West sides of the city.

So far this year there have been 846 unsolved shootings in Chicago. 164 people have been killed in these incidents, while another 34 have been murdered by other means.

Despite the downward general trend of murder rates across the country, Chicago remains an extremely violent city with a high murder rate.

Author: USA Really