The Chicago Police Department has released body cam footage of a fatal officer-involved shooting that sparked protests over the weekend. The footage appears to show the suspect reaching for a gun as he’s running from police. Watch it above.
Chicago Police Shoot Harith Augustus
On Saturday, July 14 at around 5:31 a.m., four Chicago police officers approached 37-year-old Harith Augustus on a street in the city’s South Side area. Patrol Chief Fred Waller later told reporters the officers initially made contact because Augustus has a “bulge around his waistband” which suggested that he was armed, the Associated Press reported.
In the video, the officers try to question Augustus, but he backs away. When three of the officers try to grab his arms to prevent him from leaving, he takes off. As he turns to run, he runs into a parked police cruiser. This causes his shirt to rise up, exposing a semi-automatic handgun and a magazine. The CPD body cam footage freezes and zooms in at that particular moment to show that Augustus was indeed armed.
Augustus then runs into the street. As he does this, he appears to reach for his gun. That’s when the officers opened fire, shooting Augustus multiple times. The entire incident occurs in just over 20 seconds. The body cam footage is without sound because there’s a 30-second delay before the audio activates once body cameras are switched on, Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson told reporters.
Augustus was later transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Protests erupted throughout the city in the hours after the shooting. According to the Chicago Tribune, people shouted at officers, chanting things like “murderers” and “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” An officer was hit with a bottle of urine; rocks were also thrown by protestors. In addition, police were forced to use their batons to push the crowd back.
CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said four people were taken into custody, with felony charges pending against one of the protestors. The others were released without being charged.
Augustus worked at a barbershop and had a five-year-old daughter. He didn’t have any recent arrests. In addition, Johnson said Augustus had a valid Firearm Owners’ Identification (FOID) card, but he did not have a concealed carry permit.
Johnson said he made the decision to release the body cam footage this soon after the shooting due to the protests on Saturday.
“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 said. “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.”
“We’re not trying to hide anything. We’re not trying to fluff anything,” Johnson added. “This video speaks for itself.”
The shooting is currently being looked at by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates officer-involved shootings.