COPA concludes investigation into 2018 police killing of Harith Augustus; findings await CPD review

A Chicago police officer shot and killed Augustus — a well-regarded local business owner — July 14, 2018, in the South Shore neighborhood.

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Screenshot of video released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Screenshot of video released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it completed its investigation into the “tragic” 2018 fatal police shooting of Harith Augustus, a well-regarded South Shore barber whose death sparked protests and unrest in Chicago.

COPA, which investigates the use of police force, said Tuesday it sent recommendations to Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown. If COPA believes the officer should be disciplined, Brown would have 30 days to decide whether to bring administrative charges against him.

COPA didn’t say what its recommendations were but said they would be announced once CPD concludes its own investigation.

COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said an important part of its investigation surrounded the “interplay” between the Fourth Amendment and the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act.

Augustus —who was shot while police said he was grabbing for his gun — had a valid FOID card but no concealed carry permit, police said then.

The shooting unfolded July 14, 2018, after officers saw Augustus walking “with the outline of a handgun visible under his shirt” near 71st Street and Chappel Avenue, COPA said in its statement.

Augustus, 37, searched through his wallet, then pulled away from officers and moved into the street, COPA said. He then “appeared to grip the handle” of a firearm and “in response to the motion,” Officer Dillan Halley shot five times, fatally striking Augustus, COPA said.Augustus was taken to Jackson Park Hospital and pronounced dead 20 minutes later.

His death was followed by protests and civil unrest throughout the summer of 2018.

Halley had been with the department for a year prior to the fatal shooting and had completed field training but was still considered probationary, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Roberts said that CPD should devote “considerable thought” to creating policies and training for officers that cover situations similar to the ones that led to Augustus’ death.

“Policeofficersfrequently confront such ambiguous circumstances, and their decisions as well asactionsareviewed in the context ofdisparate policing practices, experiences and outcomesin communities of color,” Roberts said.

Since the shooting, COPA said it took part in many community meetings in an ongoing effort to provide transparency in its investigation. COPA said it released more than 20 videos, audio and written records within 32 days of the incident.

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