Judge grants hearing on faster release of police shooting videos of Harith Augustus

A civil rights activist went to court Monday, trying to obtain more police bodycam videos in the controversial July 14 shooting of Harith Augustus on the South Side.

“This shooting occurred in my community, in my neighborhood,” Calloway said.

Activist William Calloway lives in the South Shore neighborhood, where two weeks ago, 37-year-old Harith Augustus was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. The angry response from local residents prompted Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the next day, to release a portion of the police videos. Calloway now is asking a judge to order the release of all video and audio recordings from the incident.

“We don't really know what happened to lead up to the shooting, or why he was even stopped. Was the stop even constitutional?” Calloway said.

The videos released so far appear to show four officers approaching the South Side barber, then he spins away and it appears he may be reaching for a gun on his hip. The shooting is being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has a policy of releasing videos within 60 days of a shooting. But Calloway says that's too long to wait.    

“We do not agree with the 60-day policy. The community never did,” Calloway said.

Calloway led the fight to released videos of the Laquan McDonald shooting. City attorneys say the remaining videos don't show much about the lead-up to the shooting, but the judge scheduled an August 16 hearing on whether they should be released soon.

“If you're going to put out your story of what happened and you're going to put out some of the videos. the public is entitled to all of the videos,” said Matthew Topic, Calloway’s attorney.