Violent protests in Chicago after man shot dead by police

CHICAGO, July 15 (Reuters) - A violent clash broke out late Saturday followed by a peaceful protest that ended early Sunday in Chicago's predominately black South Side after police shot and killed a man whom they suspected was carrying a firearm.

A crowd of about 150 residents shouted "murderers" and obscenities, local media said. They tossed rocks, bottles and jumped on police cars as the protest escalated near the crime scene in the 2000 block of 71st Street.

Officers armed with batons squared off with the protesters with punches thrown on both sides, multiple media accounts said and videos posted on Twitter show.

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"The whole situation was difficult for all involved," Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Sunday.

Officials said three or four officers suffered minor injuries and one patrol car was damaged, and at least four protesters were arrested.

The officers, who were struck in the head by rocks, as well as plastic bottles of water and urine, refused medical attention, Guglielmi said.

Few details of the shooting were available other than a police statement which said that about 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday foot patrol officers saw a man "exhibiting the characteristics of an armed person."

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Fred Waller, Chicago police patrol chief, told media that officers saw a bulge in his trousers that they believed to be a gun. When they approached the man, "He started flailing and swinging away, trying to make an escape." and he said the man "reached for the gun."

Cameras worn by police and on telephone poles captured the incident and showed the man was armed with what appeared to be a handgun, Guglielmi said.

One handgun and two ammunition magazines believed to be the man's were recovered from the scene, police said.

Guglielmi said the crowd was incited by false reports, including that the man was unarmed or had a concealed carry permit.

The man was shot multiple times, Guglielmi said, adding that an autopsy will reveal more details. The officer involved will be placed on desk duty while the incident is investigated.

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There has been a string of U.S. police killings of black men that have sparked nationwide protests. The man fatally shot has been identified as Harith Augustus, 37, of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported on Sunday, citing the medical examiner's office. The race of the man was not immediately known.

Guglielmi said the officer who fired the shots was an adult male, and added that he did not have any other information readily available.

The violent protest ended about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and was followed by a peaceful demonstration that ended early on Sunday, officials said.