Police bodycam footage of the shooting death of a Chicago man that touched off riots in the city over the weekend revealed that he appeared to be armed and reaching for his weapon.
The death of Harith “Snoop” Augustus, a 37-year-old African-American, at the hands of Chicago police officers “mobilized hundreds of Chicago protesters over the weekend,” as The Hill charitably put it.
“Officers were struck by rocks and bottles as dozens of demonstrators gathered near the crime scene Saturday,” USA Today reported police as saying.
“Four demonstrators were arrested late Saturday as police cleared the crime scene, said Anthony Guglielmi, the police department’s chief spokesman. Fred Waller, chief of the department’s patrol division, said three or four officers were injured.” Batons were apparently used against some of the protesters.
Those assembled chanted “murderers” and “no justice, no peace” after the shooting, gathering quickly at the 71st Street scene at which Augustus was shot.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, police say they stopped Augustus at roughly 5:30 p.m. Saturday because he was “a man exhibiting characteristics of an armed person.” However, witnesses say police had wanted Augustus to stop selling loose cigarettes, a similar situation which led to the death of Eric Garner in New York City several years ago.
A Washington Post freeze-frame of the video shows Augustus reaching for what appears to be a Firearm Owners Identification Card, a card that allows individuals to buy and carry firearms and ammunition.
However, after a brief confrontation, Augustus runs away. Another freeze-frame of the bodycam video shows Augustus with his shirt up, revealing a holstered handgun. He then runs out into the street as another police car arrives.
It’s at this point that Augustus can be seen reaching for his waist in roughly the same location at which the firearm was at. Police then shot him. A weapon was discovered at the scene along with several rounds of ammunition.
Here is video released by the city of the confrontation, which we must warn you contains images some will find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
Video of confrontation between police and Mr. Augustus at 71st and Jeffery. pic.twitter.com/Qd9q9IXNdS
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) July 15, 2018
Augustus was transported to Jackson Park Hospital, where he died at 5:50 p.m.
“From police perspective, you know, these things happen in a split second,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, a veteran of leftist protests, at a new conference. “Officers have to make decisions quickly.”
Police noted that Augustus had no recent history of criminal activity. But it’s not the first time police bodycams have backed up officers’ decisions to use deadly force.
“I mean, it is what it is,” Johnson said of the video, according to BBC.
“You know, we are not trying to hide anything. We are not trying to fluff anything. The video speaks for itself. I don’t need to narrate that video for you. When you see it, you come to your own conclusions about what happened.”
And those conclusions are one that protesters likely won’t want to embrace.
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