Black Lives Matter Chicago and the People’s Response Team support the family of Joshua Beal and join them in calling for the immediate release of his brother, Michael Beal, who has been held in custody for over 48 hours.
We also join the family in demanding immediate charges of murder be brought forth against the police officers involved in Joshua Beal’s murder.
At 3pm on Saturday, November 5th, 2016, an off-duty Chicago police officer shot 25-year-old Joshua Beal, of Indianapolis, on the 11100 Block of S. Troy in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. Joshua was then taken to Advocate Christ Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.
Initial social media posts by the Communications Director of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) stated that “shots were fired and police returned fire.” Around 6pm, mainstream media began heavily reporting the narrative put forth by CPD, describing the shooting as a “road rage incident.” These CPD-driven narratives further claim Beal was shot because he did not want to drop his gun, or was firing upon officers. The emphasis of Beal firing upon officers was present in nearly every initial live newscast. However, around 7pm, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated that the incident, “involving a Fire Department member and multiple subjects” in which a car was “illegally blocking a fire lane,” led to a verbal and then physical altercation. Eddie Johnson’s statement stated that Beal “displayed” a weapon, but it did not include any mention of officers being fired upon. Police told the Tribune that they are unsure if Beal ever fired his weapon, further contradicting their initial reports.
Witnesses state the fatal altercation happened over a block away from the fire lane, and had nothing to do with blocking it, countering CPD’s claims that blocking the fire lane was the cause of the original interaction. Witnesses also stated they did not see Beal shoot or “display,” a gun in his hands. A witness states that a plainclothes, off-duty police officer cut off the funeral procession with his car. Joshua’s 17-year-old sister then got out of the car and exchanged words with the off-duty officer regarding his dangerous driving. The off-duty officer then threw Joshua’s 17-year-old sister to the ground and aimed a gun at her head. two more officers, only one in uniform approached the group. At that point, Beal told the officers he had a concealed carry license and had a weapon on him. One of the off-duty officers then shot at Beal through the window of the car before running to Beal’s side of the car and continuing to fire, on Joshua Beal. Beal’s mother later said that she was told Joshua was shot twice in the back, and three times in the chest. She was not allowed to see him at the hospital. The police blocked off the scene for more than seven hours, Family members were stranded without access to their cars which were in the perimeter of the crime scene, unable to even retrieve house keys.
Mount Greenwood, a majority white Chicago neighborhood on the southwest side, has a long legacy of racism. The community’s explicit hatred for Black people is long documented, from 1968, where community members protested the presence of Black children in the school, and a playground of seventh & eighth graders cheered when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, to 2010, when a Chicagoan witnessed a group of white teenagers chase Black and Latinx folks out of a park - near the site of Joshua Beal’s murder - after sunset.
Live-footage Facebook feeds from community members on the scene of the shooting Saturday night showed Mt. Greenwood residents with “Blue Lives Matter” flags across the street from where Joshua’s family was gathered and grieving. CPD did little to protect family when a white man approached the family wielding a bat and shouting expletives. Knives and other weapons were confiscated by police as a large crowd of white people shouted, “CPD”, “Blue Lives Matter”, and “N**gers, go home” while the grieving Beal family was trapped in Mount Greenwood awaiting release of their vehicles.
The following day, a group of white residents of Mt. Greenwood, gathered carrying signs that read, “Go home animals!” and yelled in jubilation at the site of Joshua Beal’s murder.It is within this environment that a funeral procession was stopped and a pallbearer in town to lay his cousin to rest, ended up murdered in broad daylight.
We support Joshua Beal’s family during this tragic time. We are determined to center their needs during this tragically inhumane experience. We support the family’s demand for CPD to immediately release Michael Beal, Joshua’s brother - who is still in custody at 5th District Police Station - with all charges dropped. We also support the family’s demand to file murder charges against all Chicago police officers involved in the killing of Joshua Beal.
We demand the State’s Attorney, immediately file murder charges against all of the officers who killed Joshua Beal, now!
Release Michael Beal with no charges, now!
Black Lives Matter - Chicago
People’s Response Team
To donate towards funeral expenses for Joshua Beal,
go to paypal.me/BLMChi.
To donate towards bail fund for Michael Beal, Joshua’s brother,
go to chicagobond.org/mbeal.