A 25-year-old man from Indianapolis was killed Saturday afternoon by an off-duty police officer in a predominantly white Chicago neighborhood. The young man was visiting the Windy City to attend his cousin’s funeral.
According to ABC 7, police say that Joshua Beal was in a car during a funeral procession that was stuck in traffic in front a local firehouse in Mount Greenwood. An off duty firefighter confronted the driver to tell them that they were illegally blocking the fire lane, which prompted the cars’ driver and passengers to get out of the vehicle and allegedly begin a verbal and physical altercation with the firefighter. Shortly after, an off-duty Chicago police officer, who was nearby, came to “help” the firefighter.
As the altercation was unfolding, a different Chicago police officer, a sergeant, claims he drove by the scene and stopped when he saw a man with a gun. After the man “failed to drop his weapon, shots were fired striking the individual multiple times”—the sergeant was the shooter, police said.
Paramedics took Beal to nearby hospital who was later pronounced dead at 3:44 p.m., the Chicago Tribune reported.
However, the Beals family tells a completely different story.
“Chicago police gunned my baby down like a viscous [sic] animal,” Tiffaney Boxley, Beal’s mother told ABC7. “They shot him twice in the back and three times in his front,” she added.
According to Beals’ sister Cordney Boxley, while they were on their way to church to bury their cousin, her sister was cut off and almost driven off the road. Immediately after, she said her family and the motorist who had cut her off — who she thought was a Chicago police officer — all stopped and got out of their cars.
Boxley says the man pushed her female cousin to the ground and pulled a gun on her, which prompted other family members to confront the man. It’s unclear if the man identified himself as an officer.
She added that the man went inside his car, got out again and “just started shooting,’’ hitting the windshield of the vehicle containing Beal, who had pulled his gun when he saw the man holding a gun on their cousin, The Tribune noted. According to Boxley, Beal legally owned the gun and did not fire it. Police told the Trib they were “unsure” if Beal shot his firearm.
Beal, who was a father to two children and had a fiancée, was supposed to be a pallbearer at his cousin’s funeral.
“This is what CPD do. They tear our families apart over and over again. They have no consideration for life,” Boxley said.
When news hit of the fatal shooting, #JoshuaBeal began trending on Twitter:
The Independent Police Review Authority is currently investigating the incident.