Man Killed by Chicago Police Ran Away, Reached for Waist - NBC Southern California
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Man Killed by Chicago Police Ran Away, Reached for Waist

Four officers were injured and four arrests were also made

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Public Reacts After Police Release Shooting Video

    Video of a deadly police shooting was released Sunday, less than 24 hours after the incident. NBC 5's Dick Johnson explains why the department moved to release the footage so quickly. 

    (Published Sunday, July 15, 2018)

    WARNING: This story contains graphic images that may be unsuitable for some viewers. The video was released with no sound. 

    Officials have released video footage of Saturday's police-involved shooting in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago after a 37-year-old man was shot to death.

    The man who was fatally shot was identified by officials Sunday morning as Harith Augustus, a barber who was well known in South Shore for bringing his 5-year-old daughter with him to work, according to a statement issued by Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

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

    The shooting took place in the 2000 block of East 71st Street, around 5:30 p.m. when an officer says he saw a man with a gun. After officers attempted to question him, a confrontation broke out and the man was shot.

    Augustus had a gun in a holster at his hip and was shot multiple times as he ran away, spun around and reached toward his waist, according to footage released Sunday from an officer's body-worn camera.

    Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said it's the quickest he has ever ordered such video released and that he hoped to dispel rumors that Harith Augustus, 37, was unarmed. He also hoped that making the 30-second clip public before a planned protest would prevent another violent confrontation between residents and officers.

    Protesters angry about the killing Saturday took to the streets in a city that's struggled with police shootings, especially against black men and other minorities. Some threw rocks and bottles at officers — including ones filled with urine — and police pulled people to the ground and hit them with batons.

    "The community needs some answers and they need them now," he told reporters Sunday. "We can't have another night like last night."

    He said Augustus' family was in favor of releasing the video for the same reason.

    The video, which lacks sound, shows four officers approaching Augustus outside a store on the city's South Side. 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, which police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said was done to ensure a semi-automatic handgun in its holster and two bullet magazines tucked into Augustus' waist could be seen clearly. 

    Augustus 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. 

    Augustus did not fire his weapon and the footage does not show him pulling the gun out of its holster, though he does appear to try to grab something at his waist, Guglielmi said. Police also released a 50-second slow-motion clip showing Augustus reaching toward his waist. It's not clear if he was going for the weapon.

    Augustus died of multiple gunshots wounds, medical examiners said. He wasn't a known gang member and had no recent arrest history, Guglielmi said.

    Johnson said Augustus was armed with a semi-automatic weapon but was unsure of the exact caliber of the gun. He said the holstered gun was tucked into a holster in the man's waistband. He had a valid firearm owners' identification card but detectives have found no documentation that he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Rainbow PUSH demanded transparency on behalf of police officers, which meant a request to release footage of what exactly happened Saturday night.

    “A thorough and transparent investigation of the shooting is crucial to begin the long process of rebuilding the trust that has been harassed and beaten out of black and brown communities by bullies with badges for decades in Chicago and across the country,” the statement said.

    The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates officer-involved shootings, said it was analyzing the video and asking anyone who may have captured cellphone footage to share it with the agency.

    Audio from the body camera footage will be released at a later date, according to officials.

    It was at least the third time in the last two weeks that a Chicago police officer shot someone.

    Chicago has a troubled history of police shootings. The city erupted in protest in 2015 after the release of a video showing a white police officer shoot a black 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald, 16 times a year earlier.

    The officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder. McDonald's death led to the ouster of the police chief and a series of reforms meant to prevent future police abuses and to hold officers accountable.

    Jackson referenced the case as he called for video into Augustus' shooting to be released.