Chicago cops cleared in racially charged shooting that sparked huge protests in Mount Greenwood
The 2016 shooting on West 111th Street touched off days of racial unrest in the Far Southwest Side neighborhood that is home to scores of city employees.
More than two years after Chicago police officers shot and killed an African American man in a majority white neighborhood — one that’s home to scores of police officers and firefighters — the city’s police oversight agency found the use of deadly force in the “racially tinged confrontation” was within CPD policy.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has cleared CPD Officer Joseph Treacy and Sgt. Thomas Derouin of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Joshua Beal on West 111th Street in Mount Greenwood in 2016.
“A reasonable officer in Officer Treacy’s position would have believed the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another given that Joshua Beal pointed a gun at Officer Treacy and others,” COPA found in a recent report.
But while Treacy and Derouin will not be subject to any disciplinary action from the Chicago Police Board for their actions that day, civil litigation brought against both officers and the city on behalf of Beal’s fiancee, Ashley Phifer, and the couple’s two kids is still moving forward. Attorneys did not comment on COPA’s findings, but one previously said a racial slur prompted the fatal brawl.
Though Treacy was stripped of his police powers in January 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office disclosed Monday that he would testify against two of his colleagues who were criminally charged with cooking up bogus search warrants used to rob drug dealers.
The melee unfolded just east of 111th and Kedzie around 3 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2016, after Beal and several others left a funeral at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Soon after, Treacy, who was off-duty at the time and wearing civilian clothes, called 911 and told the dispatcher that several cars had boxed him in. “You need to send police to 111th and Troy, right now, before someone gets shot,” he said.
A woman who was with Beal, though, told COPA that Treacy was the aggressor in the traffic dispute.
Treacy continued west on 111th Street, while Beal and several other cars in the caravan stopped near the traffic light at Kedzie.
Ryne Kinsella, an off-duty CFD employee, told them that they needed to move their vehicles out of a fire lane that their vehicles were blocking.
A bartender at a restaurant across the street was smoking a cigarette outside at the time. She told COPA that she heard both anti-black and anti-white racial slurs being used.
Reached last year, Kinsella denied ever hearing or using any racial epithets that day.
Treacy returned and saw Kinsella being beaten. Derouin, also off duty, arrived soon after.
Cellphone video shows Treacy pointing his gun at black people who were angrily shouting at him in the middle of 111th Street. Treacy can be heard yelling, “I’m the f - - - - - - police, get the f - - - back!” as Kinsella stands nearby.
Beal went to his car and got a gun. Cellphone video shows him standing behind his car and pointing it before Treacy and Derouin opened fire.
Beal’s fiancée’s lawsuit contends that no one in Beal’s group heard anyone announce they were police.
Kinsella attempted to perform CPR on Beal before an ambulance arrived. A former CPD officer himself, Kinsella took his own life in June 2018.
The shooting of Beal touched off days of racial unrest in the neighborhood, and attorneys for Beal’s fiancée are looking to show Mount Greenwood’s history of racial hostility in their case.