(Via Chicago Tribune) – Chicago police on Sunday released a snippet of video of a fatal police shooting less than a day after it sparked violent clashes between officers and protesters on the South Side.
The footage, taken from an officer’s body-worn camera, appears to show Harith Augustus, 37, a barber, break away from officers and move his hand toward his waistband. He was shot dead in the street by police.
The video, however, runs less than a minute and does not include sound, so it is unclear what exchanges occurred between Augustus and officers in the seconds before the shooting.
At a news conference Sunday afternoon at police headquarters, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he released the video so swiftly in hopes of avoiding a repeat of violent clashes Saturday night between baton-wielding officers and protesters, some of whom lobbed bottles at officers, in the South Shore neighborhood where the shooting took place.
“In this particular instance after seeing what transpired last night, 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 told reporters. “And last night after what I saw on video, you know, bottles being thrown, urine being thrown at the police officers, we can’t have another night like that.”
Johnson said the investigation into the shooting remained open, with “tons” of other video still being reviewed.
Chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said a probationary officer with less than two years on the job fatally shot Augustus in the 2000 block of East 71st Street near the barbershop where he worked. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police contract prohibits police from identifying the officer.
Court records show that Augustus had three minor arrests from more than a decade ago and that all three charges were eventually dropped by Cook County prosecutors.
By 6 p.m. Sunday, at least 200 people, many of them demonstrators, gathered at the Jeffery Plaza, decrying the shooting in spite of the release of the video by police. Activist William Calloway and the relatives of several men fatally shot by police in the past spoke out against police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel before the group marched north on Jeffery Boulevard.
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