Police did the right thing in the Harith Augustus shooting

SHARE Police did the right thing in the Harith Augustus shooting

A rally and march organized by The Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, in the South Shore neighborhood near the site where Harith Augustus was shot and killed by Chicago police, Monday, July 16th, 2018. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Everyone, including my own family members and friends who are Chicago police officers, know how tough I am on cops when it comes to police-involved shootings of people of color. But when it comes to the shooting of Harith Augustus in South Shore, I have to be fair about something that many people feel is an injustice.

If you view the video of the shooting, you don’t have to be a big fan of the Chicago police to agree with the actions they took. It’s obvious that Augustus had no intention of being arrested with the semiautomatic weapon he had concealed. That weapon posed a threat not only to the police, but to the community as Augustus attempted to escape.

I commend Supt. Eddie Johnson for releasing the video quickly.

South Shore is a high-crime community. Hundreds of people walk down the street, and get on and off Metra trains and buses every day in that area. You might argue that the suspect has rights, and I would agree with you. But the public has rights, too, and the police are accountable for curbing the crime that makes our community unsafe.

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I don’t know if the police got every action right in this case. But what I do know is that the police didn’t mistake a cell phone or a wallet for a gun. No one wants to be carjacked, killed, raped, or have one of their loved ones held up at gunpoint after they shop for groceries. As Father Michael Pfleger’s historic peace march down the Dan Ryan Expressway made clear, far too many innocent people have been killed by guns. Gun violence must end. Kids should be able to play outside without fear once again.

We all should be thankful that no police officers or innocent bystanders were shot during the incident involving Augustus. Also, we must be careful not to cry wolf every time a police officer shoots and kills someone.

The summer is not over. Let’s remain vigilant against police officers who are racially biased, violate our civil rights and use excessive, unwarranted force.

Let’s also not forget to thank the officers who risk their own lives to save one of ours.

William J. Booker, University Park

European Union

President Donald Trump very stupidly stated “I think the European Union is a foe” before his meeting with Vladimir Putin. Calling the European Union a “foe” is not very smart, and one must wonder just how mentally unbalanced Trump is.  

The European Union is our ally and our country would be in big trouble without it if, God forbid, we end up in another world war or major conflict somewhere in the world. If this wasn’t bad enough, Trump previously dissed NATO as “obsolete.” NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries that is a system of collective defense: Members agree to defend one another if they are attacked by an external party or country.  

We are a very strong country, but we are not so strong that we wouldn’t need any help in the event of a major conflict, such as the use of European air bases and supporting troops. We have spent decades enjoying a great relationship with our European allies, and have always known that we could depend on them if we needed their help to fight adversaries who want to harm our country. Make no mistake, there are plenty of adversaries who would like to destroy our country if they had the chance. We need our European allies and NATO to help us fight such threats, and it is mind-boggling that we have a president too stupid to realize this very important fact.

I hope the day never comes that we get attacked and have no European allies to help us. Unfortunately we are getting closer to that day with this ignorant president who is jeopardizing the safety of our nation. If the European Union is our “foe,” then I hate to think who our enemy is!

Brian Vukadinovich, Wheatfield, Indiana

The wrong way

While I agree that everyone has the right to protest and have their concerns heard, there is a right way and a wrong way to do so. Shutting down the Dan Ryan was the wrong way.

Did the protesters think about safety concerns, such as police and fire rescue vehicles not getting to a call on time, with innocent people potentially dying? Did they think about the people who would run late for work, or fail to make it there at all, and end up facing discipline from their employers? This was not a protest but a selfish and thoughtless act. I believe all the protesters should have been arrested for public endangerment.

Ken Pinski, Orland Park

Putin’s gift

President Trump went to Helsinki and all he got was a soccer ball. I wonder what President Putin got. I’m afraid to find out.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

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