Crusader Staff Report
Several police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing after they were involved in the racially-charged shooting of 24-year-old Joshua Beal in 2016.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Tuesday, June 18 released a statement saying the officers were justified in the killing during a confrontation that eventually sparked protests and a lawsuit by Beal’s fiancé, Ashley Phifer. Beal was shot dead.
“Video evidence captured Officer Treacy announcing he was a police officer after a Chicago Fire Department member was being beaten by several members of the group,” the statement read.
The report also notes that video evidence shows Beal pointing a gun before the officers opened fire.
COPA said the investigation consisted of “an extensive, exhaustive and thorough investigation, including the interview of nearly 20 civilians, numerous members of the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department, review and analysis of video evidence.”
According to police, Beal failed to obey orders to drop his weapon, but Phifer’s attorney, Blake Horwitz, says that the 25-year-old was acting within his rights as a legal gun owner because he felt threatened by the officers’ actions.
The incident, which occurred on November 5, 2016 sparked outrage and protests after an off-duty officer shot and killed Joshua Beal. The lawsuit, filed by Beal’s fiancé Ashley Phifer, alleged that the officer failed to properly identify himself as a police officer during a confrontation with Beal. Phifer seeks $50,000 in damages.
“There is a moment at the scene where my client’s fiancé did pull out a weapon,” he said. “They say that he shot the weapon. The officer’s own police report says that he did not fire the weapon.”
Phifer originally said she filed the lawsuit in order to reveal the truth about what happened on that fateful November day, and to clear her fiancé’s name.
“Everything they’re saying about him is wrong,” Phifer told NBC5 Chicago. “He was a good person, and I’m not just saying that because I was with him.”