Fiancee of man killed by cops in Mt. Greenwood files suit

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The fiancee of a man shot to death by Chicago police during a funeral procession is taking the department and those officers to court.

The police shooting of an Indiana man set off a series of protests and passionate discussion about race relations in Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood. As the incident continues to be investigated, Joshua Beal's young family still struggles with their grief.

Ashley Phifer, Beal's fiancee, was reluctant to return to Chicago from Indianapolis.

"I've never been so afraid," she said.

Phifer spoke with media at her attorney's office as a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the City of Chicago and two police officers. On Nov. 5, 2016, Beal - her fiancee - was shot and killed in Mount Greenwood.

Cell phone video from that day shows Beal raise a gun. Prior to that, a fight had broken out involving at least one off-duty white police officer and several African Americans who had just attended a funeral, including Phifer and Beal.

"All I heard was gunfire, but I didn't see where they came from or anything. I just knew that they came from behind me," she said.

The Independent Police Review Authority is reviewing cell phone video and 911 calls from the scene, including one from a man describing himself as an off duty officer.

"You need to send the police to 111th and Troy right now before someone gets shot," that man says in the call.

911 callers reported a man with a gun.

Caller: "He is a white Caucasian male, probably mid-30s, oh my god-"
911 Operator: "Ma'am?"
Caller: "He's shooting!"

Beal was an Indiana resident in Chicago for a funeral. He had the appropriate firearms ID for Indiana, and his fiancee said the only time he used the gun was at a shooting range. She now struggles with what to tell her two young sons.

"At the end of the day, my children can't see their father anymore. (The officers) can still see their wives, whether they're in jail or not, they can still see their wives, they can hug them," Phifer said.

Police reports filed by two Chicago police officers who fired during the incident allege they were threatened by a weapon, but they did not report anyone fired shots at them. Those officers are still on the job.

IPRA has not made a final determination about the officers' actions.

The City of Chicago law spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit. The union representing the officers also declined comment as they haven't seen the lawsuit.
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