Amid growing protests over the police shooting of a black man initially described as "unarmed," Chicago police released body camera footage on Sunday showing that the victim, Harith Augustus, was carrying a handgun and a clip in a holster and appeared to attempt to draw it amid the tense encounter with officers.
At around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Chicago police officers fatally shot Augustus, 37. Prior to the shooting, noticing that Augustus had a firearm on him, officers approached him. Augustus initially complied with officers, but when one officer reached toward Augustus' concealed firearm, he become combative and attempted to move away from the officers. When Augustus reached down as if to draw his weapon, officers fired.
"It was some semiautomatic weapon. He also had magazines on him," said Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller, Chicago's ABC 7 reports.
After the shooting, neighbors, who described Augustus as a good family man, said that he had a concealed carry permit. Witnesses said Augustus did nothing wrong, but police said they believed that after he pulled away from them, he was going for his gun in a threatening manner.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he decided to release the footage more quickly than usual because "the community needs some answers and they need it now." Before releasing the video — provided in two forms, one in slow-motion and the other in real time — Johnson said he consulted with the family of Augustus, ABC 7 reports. The body cam video, he suggested, might help to dispel false information about the incident.
"We're not trying to hide anything, we're not trying to fluff anything. The video speaks for itself," said Johnson.
The video shows that in the mere seconds in which the confrontation took place, after initially complying, Augustus did appear to try to evade officers and reach down as if to draw his weapon. Below are still shots in chronological order showing the tragic incident: