Protesters clash after fatal Mount Greenwood police-involved shooting

ByLaura Podesta and Will Jones WLS logo
Monday, November 7, 2016
Fatal police shooting
Protesters clashed in the city's Mount Greenwood neighborhood on Sunday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Protesters clashed Sunday afternoon near the site of a deadly police shooting of a 25-year-old man in Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood.

Investigators said Joshua Beal, of Indianapolis, was armed when a confrontation between him and officers resulted in him being fatally shot. However, family members dispute the police narrative.

Michael Beal, Joshua Beal's brother, was charged with aggravated battery to a police officer, resisting arrest and attempting to disarm a police officer, a Cook County State's Attorney spokesperson said Monday. He is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

On Sunday, Mount Greenwood residents squared off against activists demonstrating against the shooting. The clash between Black Lives Matters and Blue Lives Matters groups became tense at times as they exchanged chants such as "KKK" on one side and "CPD" on the other side.

"Nobody should have to sit there and witness their brother get killed by the same people who are supposed to protect the us," said Beal's sister Cordney Boxley.

On Sunday, protesters clashed in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood one day after a police-involved shooting.

According to police, the shooting occurred after a vehicle leaving funeral services at a nearby cemetery stopped in traffic in front of a Chicago fire house near West 111th Street and South Troy Street. An off-duty firefighter told the driver that they were illegally blocking the fire lane. The occupants exited the vehicle and a verbal/physical altercation ensured, police said. An off-duty Chicago police officer was inside a nearby business and assisted the firefighter.

A Chicago police sergeant driving to work stopped when he observed a man with a firearm in his hands. After the man "failed to drop his weapon, shots were fired striking the individual multiple times," police said.

"At that time, a subject displayed a weapon, an off-duty CPD sergeant was on his way to work in uniform observed the subject. At that time shots were fired, and the subject was fatally struck," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

The shooter was the police sergeant.

Joshua Beal
Family photo

According to family, an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle cut off one of the vehicles in the funeral procession. The family members and officer got out of their vehicles. After a verbal exchange, gunfire erupted but Beal's family said that he did not provoke the officer, and merely disclosing that he had a concealed weapon permit.

"Chicago police gunned my baby down like a vicious animal," said Tiffaney Boxley, Beal's mother. "They shot him twice in the back and three times in his front."

The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is investigating.

Video circulated online on Sunday that claimed to show Beal holding a gun.

"The problem is everybody is making their assumptions based on the little stuff they see, the picture, the video. No one knows what happened," activist Ja'Mal Green said.

The video appears to capture the tense moments before the shooting, showing at least two people with their guns out. In another video, gunshots can be heard.

"IPRA investigators are in talks with several eye witnesses and are taking steps to authenticate the videos and images that have been widely circulated. While it is still very early in the investigation we can confirm that early ballistic evidence suggests multiple firearms were discharged. It is our hope that people will wait until all evidence is brought to light before making any conclusions about what happened yesterday evening," said IPRA spokesperson Mia Sissac.

CPD Communications Director Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Monday that private cell phone video and photos of the incident are authentic - they had not been doctored or altered using Photoshop.

Britnie Nelson said she witnessed the incident.

"As I'm looking, I see the officer shoot the man. He ran around the car and he shot the man. The gun went off thirteen times," Nelson said.

The officers involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days.

"If they don't do something they are the bad guys. If they try to do something they are the bad guys. So what they are supposed to do?" asked one protester supporting police officers.

Marist High School said it is taking action for a student's racially-charged post on social media reacting to the shooting. This statement was posted on the school's website:

"This evening Marist High School was made aware of a racially charged post on social media involving Marist students. We are devastated by this situation. Disciplinary action is being taken. Marist is a diverse community, made better and stronger by that diversity. As a school community, we continually work so that each student feels welcome, valued, and safe. We have been and will continue to engage with diverse student leaders to give a voice to all students and to focus on shared values. Given the tenuous times we all are living in, and recent events nearby Marist High School, our mission to make Jesus known and loved is more pertinent than ever. As always, the safety of our students is of utmost importance."