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Body-cam footage shows suspect killed by Chicago police was armed. Violent protests raged anyway.

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The script is so old the pages are tattered and dog-eared: a black man is shot and killed by cops and the community rises up in protest until video is released to show why the use of deadly force was necessary, and the same crowd quietly moves on to the next outrage.

The Chicago Police Department released bodycam video Sunday of a police officer fatally shooting a 37-year-old armed black man, Harith Augustus, who appeared to be reaching for his weapon as he tried to flee — the shooting resulted in hundreds angrily protesting over the weekend.

The incident began when police officers on patrol saw Augustus and suspected that he was carrying a gun underneath his shirt, WGN-TV reported.

“When they approached [Augustus,] he tried to push their hands away,” Patrol Chief Fred Waller told reporters. “He started flailing and swinging away, trying to make his escape. And as he was making his escape, reached for his weapon.”

Freeze frames of the video appeared online that show the man grasping for his semi-automatic weapon. “He clearly went for his gun. What would you wish police did in this case?”

Andy von Busse tweeted.

Rumors circulated that the man was unarmed and shot in the back as he ran away — which is taken out of context — as the media later reports that Augustus was a local barber nicknamed “Snoop,” who was not a gang member and was “cool, laid back, [and] very intelligent,” as a neighbor told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Devoid of any facts and fueled by inaccurate rumors, protesters show up “within two minutes” of the shooting, Sun-Times reporter Nader Issa reported — complete with a bullhorn or two.

The end result is the crowd, sufficiently whipped up to believe officers are randomly gunning down unarmed black men, turns violent, as seen in the videos below:

Here are other photos of the protests from the Sun-Times reporters:

Protests of incidents like this are often buoyed by irresponsible journalism, as seen when the Washington Post reports that “as the officers approach,” Augustus is seen “reaching for his wallet,” which appeared to have “a Firearm Owners Identification Card.”

The body camera video shows Augustus reaching for his wallet as the officers approach. In the struggle, a card protrudes from his wallet. It appears to be a Firearm Owners Identification Card, which allows qualified people to buy weapons and ammunition, according to the Illinois State Police.

 

This narrative was picked up and repeated by other media outlets.

Citing The Post, The Hill reported: “A freeze frame from the video shows Augustus reaching for what appears to be a Firearm Owners Identification Card, which allows qualified people to buy weapons.”

Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said that Augustus did not appear to have a state-issued concealed firearm license.

Tom Tillison

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