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CHICAGO — Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability has cleared two officers of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of an African-American man in a majority white Southwest Side neighborhood.

Chicago police contended Joshua Beal was shot to death on West 111th Street in Mount Greenwood in 2016, after an off-duty Chicago firefighter argued with motorists who were blocking a fire lane during a funeral procession.

They say two officers, both of whom were off-duty, opened fire when Beal grabbed a gun from a car and pointed it at the officers. The oversight agency concluded the off-duty officer who fired, Joseph Treacy, was reasonable in believing the use of deadly force was necessary.

“We are always happy when our officers who have come out and explained what occurred are vindicated from any skepticism from the public or the department,” said Kevin Graham, president of the police union. “We hope their reputations are intact and stay intact.”

The shooting sparked demonstrations by those who denounced the shooting and others who supported the officers.

Rev. Marshall Hatch attended one of the Mt. Greeenwood protests in the days that followed—with Black Lives Matter supporters on one side and Blue Lives Matter supporters on the other.

Mt. Greenwood is home to many city police and firefighters, and also known for it’s lack of diversity.

“There were racial slurs exchanged on both sides.  The folks that should have been responsible for de-escalating, which would have been the police, were actually a part of escalating it (the tensions),” said Hatch.
“We just don’t have a lot of confidence that this was an independent agency allowed to do independent investigations and really have the courage to do what is right,” he added.

Beal’s fiancee, Ashley Phifer, and children are suing the department and the two officers involved in the shooting.