Police Misconduct October 24, 2018bhorwitz
On November 5th, 2016, in the early afternoon, Joshua Beal, his girl-friend Ashley Phifer, and other members of a funeral procession were leaving a funeral for Mr. Beal’s cousin at a cemetery in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood to visit an extremely ill relative at a hospital, when a confrontation occurred between members of the funeral procession and Chicago fire fighters. Chicago Reader
The confrontation began when several members of the funeral procession got into an altercation with an off-duty Chicago fireman, Ryne Kinsella, when traffic slowed and stopped on 111th Street in the no-parking zone in front of a fire station. Racial slurs were directed at members of the funeral procession, who were all African-American, by unknown individuals. These slurs prompted the confrontation to escalate from just a verbal one, to a physical one. Chicago Sun-Times
Joseph Treacy, one of several off-duty officers involved in the shooting death of Joshua Beal, was driving in the area, As he approached the scene and saw Kinsella in the physical altercation, he began to scream vulgar obscenities at those in the area and waived around a firearm, pointing the gun in the faces of a number of unarmed African-American women, including Joshua Beal’s sisters and cousin. Joshua Beal was in extreme fear of his life and of his loved ones and pulled out a gun he was legally allowed to carry. At no time prior to Mr. Beal taking out his weapon, did either Officer Treacy, or Officer Derouin (another off-duty officer who arrived to the scene) announce that they were police officers. Having seen neither Treacy’s badge nor his uniform, Joshua Beal had no way of knowing that Officer Joseph Treacy and Sergeant Thomas Derouin were off-duty police officers. While some individuals claim they heard Treacy and Derouin announce themselves as police officers, other individuals state they did not hear such statements made by the officers. With a split-second of thought, and having seen an unknown man brandishing a gun in his relatives’ faces, Joshua Beal made the decision to protect himself and those around him. Chicago Tribune
After the incident a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department claimed the officer that shot Joshua was wearing his Chicago Police Department uniform. However, photographs and videos taken at the scene dispute this claim. After pointing their guns at Joshua Beal as Beal crouched between an open car door, Treacy and Derouin shot at Joshua Beal 8 times claiming that Beal had pulled his trigger, but evidence shows that Joshua Beal’s gun was jammed and didn’t fire. DnaInfo
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is looking into whether the use of deadly force was justified, while the Chicago Fire Department’s Internal Affairs Division and the City of Chicago’s Inspector General’s Office are also investigating the matter. On November 5, 2016, Joshua Beal’s children lost their father, Ashley Phifer lost her fiancé, and friends and family lost a loved one.
On July 25, 2017, The Blake Horwitz Law Firm, filed suit (lawsuit can be viewed here) against the City of Chicago, Officer Treacy and Officer Derouin on behalf of Ashley Phifer and Joshua Beal’s children. The case is currently going forward and is currently in the discovery phase of litigation.