Chicago Police Fatally Shoot Man, and Then a Crowd Confronts Officers

A Chicago police officer fatally shot a man Saturday evening on the city’s South Side, angering nearby residents who gathered at the scene in large numbers and confronted officers for several hours.

The shooting was the latest in recent years to expose deep-seated mistrust between the Chicago police and residents of predominantly black neighborhoods on the South and West Sides.

Fred Waller, the chief of patrol for the Chicago police, said Saturday’s encounter started when officers noticed a man with a bulge on his waistline that they believed could be a gun. He said a confrontation broke out after officers approached the man, who was identified on Sunday as Harith Augustus, 37, and that an officer fired fatal shots.

“When they approached him, he tried to push their hands away,” Chief Waller said. “He started flailing and swinging away, trying to make an escape. And as he made an escape, he reached for the gun.”

Chief Waller said the police recovered a semiautomatic weapon from Mr. Augustus, whom he did not believe was licensed to carry a concealed gun.

Activists, residents and local journalists quickly converged at the shooting scene, a busy area near a commuter rail station and shopping district in the South Shore neighborhood. Many people recorded tense confrontations between residents and officers. Some were heard disputing the Police Department’s version of events.

William Calloway, a prominent activist who lives near the scene, arrived within minutes of the shooting and streamed video images of the aftermath on Facebook. According to Mr. Calloway, witnesses said that Mr. Augustus had not appeared to reach for a gun.

The local Fox television affiliate posted video of a man jumping on the hood of a police cruiser. A Chicago Sun-Times reporter wrote on Twitter that a scuffle broke out, with officers using batons and residents throwing punches. Officers stormed a parking lot where protesters had gathered after dark, that reporter said, making several arrests and throwing the reporter to the ground.

By 10:30 p.m., the shooting scene had been cleared. Three or four officers sustained minor injuries, four protesters were arrested and some police cars were damaged, officials said.

Mr. Calloway criticized what he called an unduly aggressive and insensitive police response to the protest. “They attacked us,” he said.

“When they see that the community was outraged and speaking their minds, they didn’t like that,” Mr. Calloway said. “They want us to be docile. They want us to be meek.”

Questions of police use of force and accountability for officers have dominated public discourse in Chicago for years. After an officer in 2015 was charged with murder in the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised sweeping policy changes and a cultural overhaul of the Police Department.

Officers across the city now wear body cameras and carry stun guns, but police shootings that outrage Chicagoans have persisted.

In 2015, an officer fatally shot a teenager wielding a baseball bat as well as an innocent bystander. In 2016, an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager in the back after he ran from the police. And last month, about five miles away from the scene of Saturday’s shooting, distraught residents confronted the police after officers fatally shot an armed man in the back.


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