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University Of Chicago Students Plan Protest March After Police Shooting

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Students at the University of Chicago have organized a protest rally, after a university police officer shot and wounded a student off campus this week.

The student protesters said they're angry over many incidents, including the police shooting, and believe officers should have handled Tuesday night's incident without resorting to gunfire.

Charles Thomas, 21, was walking up and down Kimbark Avenue between 53rd and 55th streets Tuesday night, bashing cars and apartment building doors with a large pipe or crowbar, according to police and witnesses.

Charles Thomas 1
Charles Thomas, 21, a University of Chicago student is seen in Morocco, while studying abroad. (Photo credit: Elijah Wolter)

When police responded, they confronted Thomas in an alley, and an officer shot him in the shoulder when the man refused to drop the weapon and charged at police.

Thomas was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition, and has been charged with aggravated assault to a peace officer. He's being held on $15,000 bail, but was still in the hospital as of Thursday.

The university released dashboard camera and body camera video of the incident, which shows Thomas wearing a red robe, striped shirt, blue jeans, yellow gloves, and a visor over his face. Officers can be seen backing away from Thomas before he starts running toward them, and an officer shoots Thomas in the shoulder.

Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas, 21, is seen in his hospital bed, in a booking photo supplied by the Cook County Sheriff's office. Thomas was shot by a University of Chicago police officer after charging at police with a pipe or crowbar on April 3, 2018. He was charged with aggravated assault. (Credit: Cook County Sheriff)

Thomas' mother told the student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, that she believes her son was having a psychiatric episode.

University of Chicago students and neighborhood community groups planned to march Friday afternoon, and deliver a list of demands to school administrators.

Rally organizers said they want to see several changes from university police, including some funding for the department rerouted to mental health resources.

"This event and many others can be avoided if we just had a 24-hour mental health responder that was trained in handling crisis intervention and de-escalating situations like this," student Tunisia Tai said.

University of Chicago police did not respond to requests for comment.

Friday's rally was scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. at Rosenwald Hall on the main quad. Protesters planned to march to Levi Hall, the university's main administration building.

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