Mount Greenwood, Chicago is a neighborhood on edge following the death of Joshua Beal, a black man who was shot and killed by Chicago police this weekend.
As a small group of community members and activists gathered to mark Beal’s death in the Southwest Chicago neighborhood, they were reportedly met by up to 200 counter-protesters, who jeered, harangued, and shouted down the dozen or so activists. According to the Chicago-Sun Times, the group included members of a law-enforcement supporting motorcycle club, shouted at the activists to “go home,” while waving signs reading “Support Law Enforcement. We won’t take your crap” and “We support CPD. Why are you here?”
Speaking with the website DNAInfo, activist Kofi Ademola explained:
There was no protest. We were there to check on [Beal’s] family to make sure they were safe. Next thing we knew, we were surrounded by a bunch of angry white people. Nobody said anything to them.
Ademola also said that some people drove past shouting racial epithets from their car windows.
“White people are driving by and yelling at us ‘n—– go home!’ Get the f— out of here! Blue Lives Matter.'” she told the site. “More of them got out of the car and chanted ‘CPD! Blue Lives Matter.'”
“It really felt like we were back in the ’60s,” activist Ja’Mal Green said. “The rally shows that a black man can be killed by police, and they were overjoyed about that.”
Chicago Police Department officials were on hand to prevent any violence between the two groups.
Facebook Live video streamed Saturday evening by the local Black Lives Matter chapter shows one counter-protester yelling “get the fuck out of here” to the group.
Beal, 25, was killed on November 5, after reportedly arriving in Chicago from Indianapolis to attend a family member’s funeral.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Beal was driving away from the funeral, and was stopped in traffic, where he was engaged by an off-duty fire fighter who accused him of blocking the fire lane. As the argument escalated, a uniformed police sergeant approached. After Beal reportedly did not drop a gun he’d allegedly been holding, the officer shot him multiple times. He died shortly thereafter.
Beals’ family, however, reportedly said that while he was the legal owner of a firearm, the incident began when Beal engaged a plainclothes police officer who’d cut off another family member leaving the funeral, and pulled a gun on her.
Speaking with the Tribune, Beal’s mother Tiffaney Boxley said “Chicago police gunned my baby down like a vicious animal.”
The paper reports that the Independent Police Review Authority is looking into the shooting.