On Saturday, police shot and killed South Side barber Harith Augustus in the South Shore neighborhood. A protest broke out immediately following the shooting, resulting in arrests and general mayhem as bottles were thrown.
As information still circulates—including the release of a body cam video– many opinions and statements circulated as well. Below are the responses of a few mayoral candidates
Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Candidate for Mayor, Statement On The Recent Police-Involved Shooting
“These kinds of shooting incidents are a tragedy. As a city, we all lose when
they occur. I offer my condolence to the victim’s family. At first blush, this shooting appears
to be justified, based on what we see in that video and I’m pleased with its quick release.
We are hoping that a thorough investigation gives us the truth as to what happened.
But let us also be clear that the shooting victim refused to comply with the officers. He
appears to reach for a gun. At that point, he leaves the officers with little to no choice
but to shoot in defense of their own lives. But incidents like this underscore the need for a
new mayor who can bring us together, promote understanding and open dialogue”.
Mayoral Candidate Dorothy Brown Suggests Next Steps
As the Chicago Police Department (CPD) moves forward with the investigation of Saturday’s shooting of Harith Augustus, I’d like to acknowledge the swift actions by Superintendent Johnson and his team by releasing a portion of the body cam video from the fatal incident. There is much more information needed to assess the incident properly.
What this incident highlights, in stark detail, is the lack of trust that exists between CPD and communities of color. While past actions should not be a determinant in this case, we know that a lack of transparency from CPD in the past has led to where we are today.
I offer the following as we move forward:
- I encourage Superintendent Johnson and his team to over-communicate on the progress of this investigation, and host regular press conferences to keep the community updated.
- COPA should be actively involved in communicating with the public as well, so we are all aware that the investigation is open and transparent.
- More details from the body cam video should be released as soon as possible. That includes the body cam video of the officer who first approached Mr. Augustus, as well as that of all other officers on the scene, so that all aspects of the videos can be seen. In addition, the audio of all videos should be released as well.
- The Superintendent should visit the Augustus family to offer his condolences and assure them that there will be a fair and thorough investigation.
Lori Lightfoot Calls On COPA
The loss of Mr. Harith Augustus’ life is a tragedy, and my condolences and prayers go out to his family, particularly his young child and other loved ones as they mourn his death.
“It is critically important that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) move forward swiftly, independently, and thoroughly in its investigation. The public has the absolute right to understand all of the circumstances that led to the use of deadly force against Mr. Augustus.
“Superintendent Johnson made a wise decision in releasing a body camera video expeditiously. Consistent with policies recommended by the Police Accountability Task Force and adopted by the city in February of 2016, all relevant videotapes, audio, and initial police reports must be released as soon as possible, balancing the importance of the integrity of the COPA investigation.
“In addition, COPA must address the subsequent circumstances in which members of the police engaged with observers and protesters who gathered in the wake of the shooting. With the caveat that video can only provide a snapshot in time from a particular vantage point, there are several images of police interactions with members of the public that are very troubling. The images I saw from a variety of sources raise serious questions about supervision, use of force and equipment, as well as tactics deployed.
“The public has a right to understand the circumstances that led to injuries of the public and police at the Jeffrey Plaza and adjacent parking lots. It is imperative that both the CPD and COPA address these issues as swiftly as possible in the coming days.”