Misdemeanor charges filed against protester after Harith Augustus shooting

SHARE Misdemeanor charges filed against protester after Harith Augustus shooting
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Demonstrators hold their fists in the air during a moment of silence outside the barbershop where Augustus worked in the South Shore neighborhood. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

A man arrested at a protest Saturday evening following the fatal shooting of an armed man by Chicago Police in the South Shore neighborhood has been charged with battery and resisting arrest.

Melvin Johnson, 33, “refused to comply” when officers ordered him “to move back at a crime scene” at 7:27 p.m. in the 7100 block of South Champlain, according to Chicago Police. He then allegedly pushed an officer.

Another officer was injured while trying to arrest him, police said. Johnson, who lives in South Shore, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of resisting a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of battery.

The protests erupted hours after a Chicago Police officer fatally shot 37-year-old barber Harith Augustus about 5:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of East 71st Street. Police released body camera footage of the shooting less than 24 hours later.

Protesters soon gathered to throw rocks and bottles — and even a bottle of urine — at police. Police responded by pushing their line of officers forward into the group of protesters, leading to bursts of fights that culminated in a violent episode near the end of the night. Officers were seen hitting demonstrators with batons as the crowd scattered through the parking lot of a nearby strip mall.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said four officers were injured during the protests. People taunted officers with chants of “murderers” and “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” One officer was hit with the bottle of urine, and people also threw rocks. Police eventually tried to push protesters back, hitting at least a dozen people with batons.

Guglielmi said three other people were detained but were later released without being formally arrested or charged.

A more peaceful protest followed Sunday, after the release of the bodycam video.

Johnson was released on bond after a Monday court hearing, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

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