Megan Sheets, Daily Mail, August 17, 2018
Newly-released bodycam footage shows the shell-shocked reaction of the police office who shot dead an armed black man in Chicago last month.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Thursday released several raw video clips in which four police officers can be seen and heard approaching Harith Augustus outside a store on the city’s South Side on July 14 because they suspected he was carrying a firearm.
In footage from one of the officer’s bodycams, Augustus can be seen wiggling out of the grip of a female officer and appearing to pull a gun from out of his waistband when another male officer fires a shot at him.
In the moments following the shooting, the officer appears to be shell-shocked, breathing heavily and muttering under his breath as he staggers away from the suspect as he tries to make sense of what has just happened.
The officer repeatedly says: ‘He pulled on a gun on me’, as if he’s trying to convince himself and others that his actions were justified.
Slow-motion video shows the moment Augustus spins out of law enforcement’s grasp and runs into the street, appearing to go for his gun.
The officer can be seen raising his gun Augustus’ direction, firing five shots in his direction.
Seconds after the shooting, the body camera’s audio turns on, and the officer who fired the shot can be heard radioing in to the station as he walks away to catch his breath.
He then tells another officer: ‘He pulled a gun on me.’
Realizing that he’s shaken up, the female officer asks her partner if he’s okay, telling him: ‘You’re good. You’re good.’
When he asks: ‘Did he have a gun?’ the female officer confirms that a weapon was found on Augustus’ person.
He then says: ‘Why did he have to pull a gun out on us?’
The female officer tries to calm him down, saying: ‘Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.’
Still seemingly in a daze, the shooting officer says: ‘I had to. He was gonna shoot us. He pulled a gun on us.’
She responds: ‘I know he did, I know he did. Look at me, you’re okay.’
In the days following the shooting, Chicago police released one piece of body cam footage that showed the deadly encounter, but it had no audio and raised a number of questions.
Four new videos were released Thursday, the same day Augustus’ attorneys called for all related footage to be released at a hearing.
Attorney Standish Wills said the footage his team had seen ‘showed the police officers were there, they saw a young man coming and they start chasing for him for no obvious reason that we’re aware of, and we’ll keep looking into that as the lawyers in the case’.
It was unclear which videos Wills had seen at the time of that statement.
COPA has said it intended to release the footage regardless of the hearing.
There is no audio account of what occurred in the moments before the shooting because the bodycams only captured silent video prior to the officer firing off five rounds.
According to a police report, Augustus refused to comply with verbal directives and attempted to flee the officers before he posed an ‘imminent threat of battery with a weapon’ and ‘used force likely to cause great bodily harm’.
Another video released Thursday contains CCTV footage from a nearby business on the 2000-block of 71st Street, where Augustus worked in a barbershop, shows police performing the ‘investigatory stop’ after they allegedly saw he had a gun in a holster at his waist.
Investigators confirmed that Augustus, the father to a five-year-old, had a handgun as well as two extra magazines on his person when he was shot. He was later found to have a Firearm Identification Card but not a Concealed Carry License.
The victim’s co-worker Antione Howell, 42, said he and the victim worked at a nearby barber shop together.
‘He cut my hair and got killed 10 minutes later. I’m hurt… I gotta go on with my life, but I loved that man,’ he said to the Chicago Tribune.
The shooting sparked several days of unrest and violence clashes between angry protesters and police in Chicago’s South Side.
Just moments after the shooting, crowds gathered at the scene and began chanting: ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘murderers’, quickly becoming combative with officers.
Four protesters were arrested and some police officers suffered minor injuries from thrown rock and bottles, some of which were filled with urine. Two squad cars were also damaged.