Six Durations of a Split Second: The Killing of Harith Augustus (2019)
On July 14, 2018, Chicago police shot Harith Augustus. In the aftermath of his death, then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the press that police officers make decisions to use lethal force in a “split second.” This claim, meant to absolve officers of responsibility, became the starting point for a 2019 multimedia investigation co-produced by the Chicago-based investigative journalism lab The Invisible Institute, and Forensic Architecture, a London-based multidisciplinary research center that investigates human rights violations using architectural technologies. Through a series of videos that analyze the shooting on progressively smaller temporal scales — from years to milliseconds — The Invisible Institute and Forensic Architecture team show just how many institutional failings and structural breakdowns went into the production of that “split second” decision. Grounded in the eyewitness testimony including that of Trina Reynolds-Tyler — a Black Youth Project 100 organizer and researcher at The Invisible Institute — as well as myriad police documents gathered through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and new forensic techniques, the project aims to counter the official police narrative. During and after the screening, Invisible Institute team members Maira Khwaja and Trina Reynolds-Tyler will discuss the videos, the decision to locate the installation at the Experimental Station, and the connection between the works and larger abolitionist goals.