Activists criticized police departments in Chicago and Asheville, North Carolina for using damage control tactics that appear to make poor relations with Black residents worse.
In Chicago, community leaders were dissatisfied with the partial transparency of the Chicago Police Department after cops killed a Black man on Saturday, sparking an uprising in the city’s South Side, ThinkProgress reported.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson unexpectedly released a video clip of the shooting on Sunday that appeared to show Harith “Snoop” Augustus attempting to pull a gun from hip holster while fleeing from officers. However, Johnson and the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, citing the ongoing investigation, have declined to answer questions about the video.
Activist and mayoral challenger Ja’Mal Green rejected the notion that the video, which was intended to quiet the unrest, was a slam-dunk for the police, he told the news outlet.
“There [are] so many unanswered questions. I don’t think that people are satisfied with the video,” Green said.
He wants to know why the police failed to release audio of the conversation that Augustus was having with one of the officers right before two other cops tried to grab him from behind. The activist speculated that Augustus was complying with the first officer’s directions before getting blindsided — which escalated the situation.
Augustus appeared to pull a card from his wallet that resembles a state-issued firearm license but the police chose not to enhance that frame in the released video; they enhanced a close-up of Augustus’ pistol.
Meanwhile, Black activists in Asheville have doubts about the reason their police department gave for secretly gathering intelligence on local civil rights groups, the Citizen-Times reported.
The outcry stems from the newspaper’s report on Tuesday that the police department launched the intelligence operation two years ago after an officer shot and killed an African-American man in 2016 under questionable circumstances. The shooting sparked widespread protests.
The police claimed that members of two local civil rights groups — Black Lives Matter chapter and Showing Up for Racial Justice — threatened the department after the newspaper published its report. Cops then began to secretly monitor the groups.
That explanation didn’t sit well with the two groups and other local civil rights organizations.
“This is extraordinarily disturbing that we even have to pose these questions. APD (Asheville Police Department) needs to answer these questions publicly,” local NAACP President Carmen Ramos-Kennedy said, adding that the police monitoring of protesters is an intimidation tactic.
However, the department has declined to give any details about the threats. This situation creates more suspicion and distrust in the Black community for the police department, which already been under fire after a video surfaced last year of a vicious police beating in August of an unarmed Black pedestrian.