Confrontation between protesters and Chicago police, July 14, 2018.
Screenshot: Chicago Sun-Times

A South Side Chicago neighborhood was the site of violent clashes between police and residents of a community where an officer fatally shot an African-American man on Saturday evening.

Chicago activists have identified the man as Harith Augustus, better known as “Snoop,” a popular barber and proud father who worked in the South Shore community.

According to police (take this with a grain of salt), officers on foot saw “a man exhibiting characteristics of an armed person,” and when they tried to question him, a “confrontation” ensued. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that an officer then opened fire.

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Augustus, thought to be in his 30s, was pronounced dead at Jackson Park Hospital, according to a Chicago Fire Department spokesperson.

Within minutes of the fatal shooting, a crowd had gathered at the site of the killing to chant, “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?”

According to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter, Nader Issa, who was reporting live from South Shore, “people outside the crime scene after the shooting claimed a female officer shot the man, a neighborhood barber, at least five times in the back as he ran away, and that the officer was taken away from the scene in a police vehicle afterward as the crowd formed.”

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South Shore resident Gloria Rainge says Snoop had been her barber for five years and was usually seen in the neighborhood with his 5-year-old daughter. Rainge said she watched him get shot. “He was cool, laid back, very intelligent,” she said, according to Issa.

By evening, Issa reports that 80-to-100 officers were on the scene, about the same amount or more protesters.

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Four demonstrators were arrested late Saturday per Guglielmi; there are also reports that three or four officers were injured by rocks and bottles.

However, the violence was not just one-sided.

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Issa himself reports that he was pushed to the ground by police, having his cell phone knocked away, even though he identified himself as press. He also posted a video of officers dragging a man and hitting others with batons.

According to USA Today, the Chicago Police Department has a documented history of using unmitigated and excessive force against black residents in Chicago. It reports:

A 2017 Justice Department review found Chicago officers used force nearly 10 times more in incidents involving black suspects than against white suspects. African-Americans were the subject of 80 percent of all police firearm uses and 81% of all Taser contact-stun uses between January 2011 and April 2016. Of incidents where use of force was used against a minor, 83% involved black children and 14% involved Latino children during the same time-period, the report notes.

Chicago has also spent about $709 million on settlements for police misconduct cases, according to a recent report from the Action Center on Race & the Economy.

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There are also dispatches from the community saying that “Snoop” had a permit to carry his weapon, but as with the case of Philando Castile, legally carrying a weapon doesn’t fly (and gets you dead) when you’re black.

When police were questioned at a Saturday evening news conference about whether Augustus had a license to carry a concealed weapon, Fred Waller, chief of the department’s patrol division responded, “As we know now, he did not” (which sounds like cop-obfuscating-goobledegook to me. Are you saying you know for sure now, that he did not have a permit or are you saying as of now, that’s what you know, i.e., you don’t know yet?)

The AP reports that police say that a weapon was recovered at the scene but did not say where it was found or whether or not it was on the man killed by police.

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One elder in the community summed it up best:

“We just want to live,” one woman said. “Our black kids keep getting killed. We just want to live.