TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Chicago police released a short video of a fatal police-involved shooting that led to killing of a black man after it sparked violent clashes between police forces and protesters on the South Side of the city.
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, Chicago Tribune reported.
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.
Meanwhile, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Sunday that autopsy results showed Augustus died of multiple gunshot wounds. The autopsy did not specify how many times he was shot or where on his body.
The office ruled the shooting a homicide — not an indication of wrongdoing by police.
As USA Today reported, Chicago has a troubled history of police shootings and misconduct:
The city saw weeks of peaceful protest in 2015 after the release of a video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke was charged with murder. McDonald's death led to the ouster of the police chief and a series of reforms designed to prevent future police abuses and to hold officers accountable for excesses.
Van Dyke is awaiting trial.
A 2017 Justice Department review found Chicago officers used force nearly 10 times more in incidents involving black suspects than against white suspects. African-Americans were the subject of 80% of all police firearm uses and 81% of all Taser contact-stun uses between January 2011 and April 2016. Of incidents where use of force was used against a minor, 83% involved black children and 14% involved Latino children during the same time-period, the report notes.
Chicago has also spent about $709 million on settlements for police misconduct cases, according to a recent report from the Action Center on Race & the Economy.