The brother of a man fatally shot by Chicago police in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood choked and threatened to kill an off-duty police officer, prosecutors said.
Michael Beal, 28, witnessed police shoot and kill his brother, 25-year-old Joshua Beal, Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Prosecutors said off-duty police officers confronted members of the Beal family as they left a family funeral. A confrontation over a traffic dispute escalated and off-duty police pulled out their weapons.
A police statement initially said two off-duty officers were involved, but prosecutors suggested as many as four off-duty officers were on the scene. The Mount Greenwood neighborhood has one of the highest percentage of “law enforcement workers” in the city, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Police said Joshua Beal was shot after he pulled a gun and refused to drop it, but family disputed that account. Prosecutors pointed to video they say supports that version of events.
But Michael Beal’s lawyer, Barry Spector, said it may not have been clear to the brothers that the men confronting them were off-duty police.
“You’ve got a guy on a Saturday afternoon running errands, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt and he is walking around with a gun, stucking it in your face, saying I’m the police. Says who?” Spector said.
Michael Beal was charged with aggravated assault to a police officer and attempt to disarm a police officer.
Spector said Michael Beal has no criminal record and hopes to attend his brother's funeral. He asked bond to be set at $1,500, but the judge denied that request and set bond at $500,000.
Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @shannon_h