CHICAGO (CBS) — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced Tuesday that it has concluded its investigation into the police shooting that killed Harith Augustus in South Shore in 2018 – an incident that brought about unrest at the time.
Augustus, 37, was shot and killed by police on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 71st Street and Chappel Avenue.READ MORE: Local Businesses Hope For Similar Outcome Of Shoppers For Small Business Saturday
COPA said officers reported they saw Augustus walking with the outline of a handgun visible under his shirt, and they stopped him to ask him about the gun.
As Augustus searched through his wallet, officers tried to gain physical control of him, but he pulled away and moved into the street, COPA said.
As Augustus pulled away, it appeared that he gripped the handle of the gun, COPA said. In response to that motion, an officer fired five times, killing Augustus.
Augustus was a well-known neighborhood barber, and his shooting by police led to protests and unrest right afterward and throughout the summer.
COPA responded to the shooting scene immediately and began investigating.
“Of importance in COPA’s investigation and its findings is the complex and nuanced interplay between the Fourth Amendment and the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act,” COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said in a news release. “Police officers frequently confront such ambiguous circumstances and their decisions as well as actions are viewed in the context of disparate policing practices, experiences, and outcomes in communities of color. It is therefore imperative that the Department devote considerable thought and care to creating and implementing appropriate policies and training.”
Since the incident, COPA has participated in community meetings and has released audio, video, and written department records.
Footage released in August 2018 shows two perspectives of the encounter – a police bodycam video and surveillance from street camera.
The footage does not show what happened before the shots were fired or reveal what Augustus said as he ran away with his hand on a gun holstered on his right hip.
(NOTE: CBS Chicago has not shown the full video because it shows graphic footage of Augustus’ body in the street.)
It does show the officer who shot and killed Augustus talking with a sergeant afterward and saying Augustus had pulled a gun on him.
“Why did he have to pull a gun out on us?” the officer asks. “I had to, he was going to shoot us.”
After the shooting, an officer recovers a gun from Augustus’ waist.
CPD body cam video released in July 2018 shows the same scene but from a closer angle: Several officers attempt to question Augustus and at one point one officer grabs his arm. Augustus spins away and runs into the street, where he reaches for a gun from his waistband.
He is then shot by one of the officers.MORE NEWS: PAWS Dog Of The Week: Ariel
COPA’s findings will be posted for public examination after the Chicago Police Department concludes its own review and officers are served with any possible charges.