Chicago - Jun. 16, 2021
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A Little Girl's Daddy Is Never Coming Home

Trust in the police is at an all-time low. Anguish and anger in the community sky high. This is no time for business as usual. Recordings from officer body cams and any other video of the fatal police shooting Saturday evening of Harith (Snoop) Augustus must be released immediately.

Chicago can't afford even the hint of another case of "16 shots and a cover-up."


Augustus, a 37-year-old barber, was well known in the South Shore neighborhood for bringing his 5-year-old daughter with him to work. Thank God, he didn't take the child to the shop Saturday afternoon.

Whatever version of events turns out to be true about what happened on 71st Street, one thing is clear: The loss of this young father's life is a tragedy. No amount of inquiry or pursuit of justice will bring the little girl's daddy back. My heart is broken for the child and her family. My soul is sick for the city.

A thorough and transparent investigation of the shooting is crucial to begin the long process of rebuilding the trust that has been harassed and beaten out of black and brown communities by bullies with badges for decades in Chicago and across the country.

Of course, I'm not talking about all police officers. Most officers do their jobs - and risk their lives - every day to protect the public to the best of their abilities. Yet too often the good allow the bad to poison the barrel. They look the other way and stay silent when they witness their colleagues disrespect, brutalize and even murder members of the public.

When Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, at least half a dozen fellow officers lied in their written reports to cover up this modern-day lynching on the streets of Chicago.

They said the teenager had lunged at the officer. A chilling police dash-cam video - which was released more than a year later and only then after activist William Calloway and others went to court - showed the exact opposite.

Laquan was walking away from the officers when he was shot and killed. Most of the bullets ripped into his young body as he lay dying in the street.

I was in California on Saturday night, attending a charity event to raise money in the fight against autism and Parkinson's Disease, when I heard about the shooting in South Shore. A sense of sorrow washed over me at the news. It was just a week ago that thousands of us - black and white, red, yellow and brown, young and old - shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest the violence in Chicago.

I have readjusted my travel schedule and will return to Chicago today. It's all hands on deck. Our city is in crisis.

A little girl's daddy is never coming home.


Comments welcome.


Posted on July 15, 2018

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