His death ignited the city with an explosion of protests and press conferences, but on Wednesday his life was remembered as steady, calm and private.
“Snoop was shy, one of the quiet ones,” Adonius Johnson said.
That’s how Johnson remembers Harith “Snoop” Augustus, a 37-year-old barber, shot and killed by Chicago police on Saturday evening on the 2000 block of East 71st Street in the South Shore neighborhood.
Johnson is the owner of Sideline Studio, the barbershop where Augustus rented a chair for a little over three years.
On Wednesday, Augustus’ fellow barbers, friends and community organizers put on a candlelight vigil outside the barbershop to honor his memory.
“We’re family in here,” said Dionell Hill, who rents a chair at Sideline Studios and worked alongside Augustus.
Augustus’s tenure as a barber at Sideline Studios was defined by his ambition and professionalism.
According to Johnson, Augustus always paid his rent on time and often asked to open the shop on Monday’s, typically the slowest day of the week for barbershops, to serve his growing list of clients.
“He was ambitious. He thought of himself as an entrepreneur. He’d be in here for more than 50 hours a week,” Johnson said.
Residents of the South Shore neighborhood say they aren’t strangers to the sound of gunfire — or the grief that usually follows.
But the police killing of Augustus has left a different kind of sting in the air.
After a tumultuous night of protest on Saturday — where officers were caught on tape hitting people with batons, prompting protesters to throw rocks and bottles — the Chicago Police Department released an edited version of the shooting officer’s body camera footage.
The footage has been a topic of conversation throughout the neighborhood — and across the city.
In the video, police officers approach Augustus on 71st Street. After Augustus produces his wallet, an officer is seen grabbing Augustus by the arm. Augustus pulls away, revealing a gun holstered on his hip. Augustus is then seen reaching for his hip. Officers quickly open fire, killing Augustus.
For many, the video vindicates the police’s response.
But for others, including many of those present at Wednesday’s vigil, the video shows how police officers escalated the situation that ultimately turned tragic.
“Why did the cop grab him like that?” Edward Borden Jr., a member of the Inner City Muslim Action Network, said.
A dozen people left the vigil around 6:45 p.m and marched down to the corner of 71st Street and Jeffery Avenue to block traffic in protest of Augustus’ killing. Police officers quickly arrived at the scene and moved the protest away from the intersection.
- CPD releases body cam footage of fatal officer-involved shooting in South Shore
- McCarthy says shooting ‘justified’; Lightfoot focuses on treatment of protesters
- Police union accuses ‘media bias’ of painting police shooting as unjustified
- Neighborhood recalls ‘quiet’ South Shore barber who died in police shooting
- Authorities identify man fatally shot by CPD officer in South Shore
- Violent protest over police-involved shooting a warning shot
Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.