Just days after protesters clashed at the scene of a fatal police-involved shooting that left a man in a funeral procession dead on Chicago’s Far South Side, the two groups of activists are set to return – but at different times.
Activists representing both “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” are set to gather in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood Tuesday following the death of 25-year-old Joshua Beal.
The Blue Lives Matter group is expected to protest at 4 p.m. in the area while Black Lives Matter will rally around 5:30 p.m. It’s not clear if the two events will overlap.
On Sunday, protesters on both sides carried flags and signs as they marched to the firehouse where the shooting occurred. The street was temporarily closed to traffic as the crowd grew more agitated, with protesters shouting and even throwing water bottles at one another.
Protesters could be heard chanting "Don't shoot us" and "Lock them up," among several other heated exchanges.
No arrests were made during the protests, according to police, though both groups announced plans for further demonstrations.
On Tuesday, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson spoke at a community meeting about the department’s “use of force policy,” in wake of the shooting. Johnson declined to discuss the growing tensions in Mount Greenwood.
Jedidiah Brown, with Chicago Life, said the activist group plans to join Black Lives Matter at the Tuesday rally.
Still, blue ribbons can be found on nearly every lightpost in the neighborhood as members of Blue Lives Matter come it on force to support police officers.
The Saturday shooting took place in the 3100 block of West 111th Street after a car leaving funeral services was stopped in front of a firehouse, according to police.
An off-duty Chicago firefighter told the driver that the car was illegally blocking the fire lane, police said, at which point the occupants exited the vehicle and "a verbal and physical altercation ensued."
An off-duty Chicago police officer heard the commotion from inside a nearby business, according to police, and attempted to assist the firefighter. An additional Chicago police sergeant was driving to work when he also spotted the altercation and saw a man with a firearm, authorities said.
The sergeant stopped, exited his vehicle, displayed his weapon and announced his office, according to the release from police.
"As the incident continued to escalate and the offender failed to drop his weapon, shots were fired striking the individual multiple times," the release states.
“The subject displayed a weapon,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference, adding that the incident began as road rage. “An off-duty CPD sergeant that was on his way to work in uniform observed the subject, at that time shots were fired and the subject was fatally struck.”
The man, later identified as Beal, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Family members said Beal was a father of two young children who was in town from Indianapolis to be a pallbearer at his cousin's funeral.
According to Beal’s family, who gave a narrative that conflicted with the police account, the incident began when an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle cut off one of the cars in the funeral procession that had just left Mount Hope Cemetery.
“This guy, who we later found out is a police officer, tried to run my 17-year-old sister off the road. We pulled him over to ask him what was he doing and he pushed my female cousin to the ground and pointed his gun in her face,” said Beal’s sister Cordney Boxley.
At that point, Boxley said, several male family members ran over to find out what was happening. Boxley added that her brother, who she said had a concealed carry license, had returned to his car by the time shots rang out.
“As the scene dispersed, we're trying to go back to our car and I guess the officer was going to his car, and he, for no reason, just got out of his vehicle and started shooting my brother,” Boxley said. “He then went from his driver's side to my brother's passenger side of his vehicle, opened up his car door, pulled my brother out just to continue to empty his entire clip on him."
Beal’s family insisted that no shots were fired at the officers, and that they did not identify themselves as law enforcement until after the shooting.
“He let them know, ‘I have a concealed carry license,’ and put his hands up, so at that point, is he posing any threat to you?” asked Beal’s mother Tiffaney Boxley.
Several people involved, including the off-duty firefighter and off-duty police officer, sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to police, who also said that a weapon was recovered from the scene.
The incident remains under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, police said, and the officers involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days in accordance with standard department procedure in all police-involved shootings.