CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - The brother of an Indianapolis man killed over the weekend by Chicago cops was out for revenge — struggling with one of the officers and yelling, “F— you! You killed my brother! I’m going to kill you!” Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Michael Beal, 28, also of Indianapolis, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail on charges of aggravated battery to a police officer and attempting to disarm a police officer, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
His brother, Joshua Beal, 25, was shot to death after he pointed a gun at an off-duty officer and others during a traffic dispute Saturday afternoon in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the Southwest Side. Michael Beal unsuccessfully tried to gain control of his brother’s gun during a struggle with one of the officers who fired the shots, prosecutors said.
Until Tuesday, police had disclosed that only two officers were at the scene, with both firing shots at Joshua Beal. But prosecutors revealed during Michael Beal’s court appearance that two other officers, both off-duty, also played roles in the incident.
Police and the Beals’ family have offered starkly different accounts of what happened Saturday. The revelation that four officers were involved helps to explain some of the discrepancies between the two versions of events.
Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said the incident began when several people were driving erratically on 111th Street near a Chicago firehouse and passed an off-duty cop’s car. The Beals and their relatives had left a funeral procession after burying a relative in a nearby cemetery, police have said.
Beal’s family members said the incident started when an off-duty officer tried to run one of their relatives off the road. They say the mourners pulled over the cop, who pushed a woman to the ground and pointed a gun in her face. Relatives ran from their cars to see what was happening, then went back to their cars, and the officer shot Joshua Beal, according to his family.
Whichever version is true, police officials hadn’t mentioned that an off-duty officer was involved in the incident from the very beginning.
According to prosecutors, a second off-duty Chicago Police officer was nearby in his car and told the funeral-goers to move because they were parked in front of the firehouse.
About nine people in the Beal group got out of their cars, cursed the officer and then started to beat him up, prosecutors said. When a woman in a hardware store called 911, a juvenile punched her in the head. He was later arrested and charged with battery.
The first off-duty officer left his car and announced he was a cop, prosecutors said. A fire battalion chief saw that the officer was holding a badge. The officer pulled his gun and told the group to get back in their cars, prosecutors said.
Then, a third off-duty police officer walked out of a barbershop and a fourth cop, a uniformed sergeant on his way to work at the Morgan Park station, got out of his car.
The fire battalion chief saw Joshua Beal go into the back seat of a black Dodge Charger and emerge with a gun that he pointed at the first off-duty officer, prosecutors said.
Joshua Beal pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire, prosecutors said. Then he pulled back the slide on his semiautomatic handgun and two rounds of ammunition fell to the street.
Once again, Joshua Beal pointed his gun at the first off-duty cop.
He yelled, “You’re not the only motherf—— with guns,” according to prosecutors.
A witness with a cellphone camera captured Beal pointing the weapon. The first off-duty cop and the sergeant ordered Beal to drop it, then fired at him and he was fatally wounded.
When the off-duty officer moved in to secure the weapon, Michael Beal tried to grab it, prosecutors said.
Beal put the officer in a chokehold and the officer nearly lost consciousness, prosecutors said. The officer’s gun fell from his waistband.
The officer, who hasn’t been named, suffered cuts to his hand, neck and arms and stiffness to his back. He was treated at a hospital and released. One of the off-duty officers and the battalion chief gave first aid to Joshua Beal, according to prosecutors.
The fatal shooting has sparked several face-offs in Mount Greenwood — home to scores of police officers and firefighters — between Black Lives Matter demonstrators and police supporters. Those disputes flared again Tuesday night but subsided in the early evening.
Lawyer Barry Spector, who represents Michael Beal and was one of rapper Chief Keef’s attorneys during his legal troubles, said he believes more videos will emerge to clarify what happened Saturday. He said Joshua Beal was shot 14 times.
“Everybody has their own memories of what happened there and who knows what’s correct?” he said, adding that videos he’s seen show “inconsistencies” in what prosecutors say happened.
Spector also said his client wasn’t sure the off-duty cops were actually law-enforcement officers.
Spector asked Judge Donald Panarese Jr. to give Beal a $1,500 recognizance bond, saying his family couldn’t afford to pay a high bond as well as bury Joshua Beal. Spector noted that Michael Beal doesn’t have a criminal record, he has family in Chicago and isn’t a flight risk.
But Panarese set a $500,000 bond without comment.