The sketchy details surrounding the death of 25-year-old Joshua Beal, who was killed while carrying his cousin’s coffin, have come to light after the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the chaotic ordeal started all because a white man hurled the N-word at a group of African-Americans.
It’s been a year and a half since Beal’s death, and yet the police and city’s agencies have failed to be forthright with the details surrounding his death. That is, until the Sun-Times sued and received dozens of pages of a detective’s report about the case.
“The N-word started it,” says Blake Horwitz, the attorney who represents Beal’s fiancee Ashley Phifer and their two children. Phifer is suing the city.
What’s known is that Beal, an Indianapolis man, was in Chicago for his cousin’s funeral and served as a pallbearer. He was in the funeral procession and got caught in the crossfire and shot by off-duty cop Joseph Treacy who claimed that a group of black people had surrounded his car and that uniformed officers should be sent to the scene “before someone gets shot.”
Treacy can be heard on the 911 call saying: he was being “encircled by two cars right now.” He also called the black people “motherf—–s” several times.
“They cut me off the road, and one car came on the side of me, and one car came on the back of me,” Treacy says.
Witnesses said the uproar started after a white man in a car hurled a racial slur at a group of black women, calling them the N-word.
Another black man reportedly punched the offender in the face. Then witnesses report, another white man in a red shirt and a gun – allegedly officer Treacy – started yelling at a group of African-Americans to step back saying: “I am an off-duty officer. I’m police! I’m police!”
Treacy said that he was punched in the face multiple times. He pointed his weapon at a group of African-Americans, according to the report. He and another officer, Sgt.Thomas Derouin, fired and killed Beal, who was shot eight times.
The report said Officer Treacy worked to save a white off-duty EMT Ryne Kinsella, who said he too was attacked by black people in the funeral procession.
A video allegedly shows Beal holding a gun at the off-duty police officers. But witnesses refute that claim. The investigation continues into whether the officers were justified in using deadly force.