By Bryan Crawford (The Final Call/NNPA Member)
CHICAGO — The Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago is one with a long, ugly history of racism.
Some say the ugliness has never been more apparent than with the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Joshua Beal of Indianapolis, killed by an off-duty police officer during a traffic dispute, and its aftermath.
Mr. Beal, who was in town for the funeral of a relative, was shot and killed near the intersection of 111th St. and Troy Avenue on a Saturday afternoon in early November.
Video of the incident captured a White male wearing a red shirt, presumably one of two off-duty police officers involved in the shooting, pointing a gun in the direction of Joshua and his brother Michael Beal who were standing in a crowd in the middle of the street. Michael Beal was later arrested and charged with assault and attempting to disarm a police officer after his brother was shot. His bond was set at $500,000. He was released when bail was posted.
Joshua Beal, who held a firearms permit issued by the state of Indiana where he lived, brandished a firearm, presumably to defend himself and his family members from men with guns who, according to activists and family members, never identified themselves as police officers.
In the video, which does not show the actual moments when Joshua Beal was hit, as many as 12 shots can be heard being fired. Kofi Ademola, an activist with Black Lives Matter Chicago, told The Final Call details of the incident were shared with him by the Beal family.
“After leaving a funeral, an off-duty police officer cut into the Beal family caravan as it was passing through the Mount Greenwood area. A young lady, who was only 17, got out of the car and questioned the officer, asking him why he cut them off,” Mr. Ademola explained.
“The officer was in an unmarked vehicle, was dressed in plain clothes, and never identified himself as a police officer. He got out and began cursing and yelling at the young lady, who said that she smelled alcohol on him. The off-duty officer proceeded to grab and physically assault the young lady. He slammed her to the ground, took his gun out and put it to her head. The rest of the family began to get out of their cars and surrounded him by Bryan Crawford @MrCraw4D and told him to let her go.
“That’s when the person who was in another car as part of the Beal family caravan, took out her phone and began recording the video that was released to the public. When she finally got the video focused on the scene, you can see the officer in a red t-shirt pointing his gun in the direction of the family, and still to this point, no one knows that he’s a police officer. Joshua, who was a registered gun owner in Indiana, never fired his gun, and only produced it because he was trying to defend his family from some crazed White dude with a gun that still nobody knew was a police officer.”
Mr. Ademola said a police sergeant arrived on the scene and did announce himself. Joshua Beal began to explain to the officer that he did have a weapon and that he was licensed to carry a weapon in Indiana, to which the police let him know, in no uncertain terms, that they didn’t care, the activist continued.
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