Our Pledge To You

Chicago

Family of Harith Augustus calls his shooting death ‘all too familiar’

Memorial for Harith Augustus outside the barber shop where he use to work with, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Memorial for Harith Augustus outside the barber shop where he use to work with, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Chicago. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The family of Harith Augustus broke their silence Saturday morning, issuing their first public statement since the 37-year-old barber was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer during a video-recorded encounter that spurred a week of protests.

“We acknowledge the emotions felt and expressed by so many in our community who witnessed the last seconds of his life, that have also been displayed before the world, via police body-cam footage,” the family said in a statement distributed by attorney Standish Willis.

“For you, our community and us, the manner of Harith’s tragic death is all too familiar and seems so unnecessary.”

The statement did not identify Augustus’ family members. Willis could not immediately be reached for more details.

Harith Augustus

Harith Augustus | Facebook

Calling him a “quiet, yet strong presence in our family and community,” the family said Augustus, who went by “Snoop,” was reliable, dependable and a hard worker.

They also thanked those who protested his death, saying “We have heard the voices of many who have shared heartfelt and timely concerns in the form of protest, memorials and requests for accountability and full transparency.”

Augustus was killed July 14 after officers on foot saw “a man exhibiting characteristics of an armed person” in the 2000 block of East 71st Street. A “confrontation” ensued when officers tried to question him, according to police.

One edited clip of body-camera video released the next day shows Augustus pulling out his wallet and what looks like a Firearm Owners Identification card when police try to question him. The 45-second clip, which has no audio, then shows Augustus breaking away from the officers and reaching for a gun at his waistband when an officer opens fire.

Protests ensued that night — with a few violent clashes with police — and continued throughout the week, with some bringing their calls for justice to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home on the North Side.

“We thank all of you for respecting our family’s privacy in this matter,” the family’s statement read. “We are hurting deeply right now in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

The shooting is under investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Read the full statement from Harith Augustus’ family:

The family of Harith Liu Augustus gives thanks to God for the Creator’s love and the outpouring of prayers, condolences, and support shown by so many near and far during our time of mourning.

Our son and brother was a quiet, yet strong presence in our family and community. He treated people with respect and simply wanted to live a life of peace and quiet. Harith was reliable, dependable and a hard worker. Affectionately known as “Snoop,” his love of barbering flowed to his customers whom he made feel better about themselves with his skillful work. Harith was a good man and we are deeply distraught that he is no longer with us.

We acknowledge the emotions felt and expressed by so many in our community who witnessed the last seconds of his life, that have also been displayed before the world, via police body-cam footage. For you, our community and us, the manner of Harith’s tragic death is all too familiar and seems so unnecessary.

We thank all of you for respecting our family’s privacy in this matter. We are hurting deeply right now in ways you can’t begin to imagine. We have heard the voices of many who have shared heartfelt and timely concerns in the form of protest, memorials and requests for accountability and full transparency. We are grateful for the support you continue to show as we grieve the loss of our son and brother, Harith Liu Augustus.

God bless you all.
Harith’s Family

RELATED

Harith Augustus’ death spotlights barbers’ roles as community pillars
South Shore ‘family’ honors barber killed by police — ‘one of the quiet ones’
CPD Supt. Johnson explains why no audio recovered from fatal police shooting
EDITORIAL: Police shooting of Harith Augustus demands a thorough investigation
Police union accuses ‘media bias’ of painting police shooting as unjustified