Paul O’Neal Police Shooting Video Released
The video showing the Chicago police shooting death of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal has been released.
Video details were made available to the public via the city’s Independent Police Review Authority’s (IPRA) online case portal Friday morning.
O’Neal’s family, their attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, and a group of activists gathered at the IPRA headquarters were the first to have access to the video, ABC 7 Chicago reports.
The IPRA is investigating the shooting. After viewing the video, O’Neal’s family left the IPRA headquarters in tears, according to reports.
“We just watched a family watch the execution of their loving son,” Oppenheimer said. “It is one of the most horrific things that I have seen, aside from being in a movie. These police officers decided to play judge, jury and executioner.”
Activists Jedidiah Brown was one of the first to see the video. He said he thinks what he witnessed will create a larger divide between Chicago police and the community.
“Watching that video, I feel like that was a tear right down the middle of the relationship between the community and police,” he said. “I saw an officer stomp a lifeless body in the back with his foot, while other officers stood over his body and screamed at him to put his hands behind his back. You could tell, watching these videos, that the narrative to cover this up had already begun before anything happened. You could hear officers telling other officers to cut off their body cameras.”
Police shot and killed O’Neal last Thursday evening near 74th Street and South Merrill Avenue. They were reportedly attempting to stop the car he was driving — a vehicle police said was reported stolen from the suburb of Bolingbrook earlier that day.
The video shows one officer shooting at the vehicle as it advanced towards his partner. Then the vehicle is seen ramming into another squad car, with the officers involved in the crash chasing O’Neal on foot.
He was shot by one of the pursuing officers in a nearby backyard, after being told to put his hands up. Then officers screamed at O’Neal as he laid on the ground, saying, “Why did you have to shoot at us?”
O’Neal, who was unarmed at the time, was shot in the back, and no one was seen rendering any aid in the footage.
Video of the shooting was recovered from police vehicle dashboard cameras and body cameras worn by two of the three officers who fired at O’Neal. The shooting itself was not captured because the camera worn by the officer who fired the fatal shot was either not working or fell off during the chase, officials say.
Wednesday night, Bolingbrook police released video footage showing O’Neal carrying a backpack, and other men with stolen cars, including a Buick, at a Speedway gas station.
The video does not show the vehicle that O’Neal was reportedly driving, a stolen Jaguar, officials say.
The three officers have since been stripped of their police powers, pending the outcome of an independent investigation. CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said some of the officers violated policy.
On Monday, O’Neal’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department.
Johnson released the following statement after the video was made public.
“I applaud the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley for being so transparent and open with the video release and I want to pledge the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department during this investigation. My promise to the people of Chicago is that we will be guided by the facts and should wrongdoing be discovered; individuals will be held accountable for their actions.
The shooting of Mr. O’Neal has raised a lot of questions about whether departmental policies were followed. While IPRA conducts a thorough investigation, we will not wait to look for ways we can learn from this incident.
I’ve challenged my team to take a hard look at the training and tactics from this incident, including looking at national best practices on use of force to determine how we can best serve our officers so that they can best serve the people of the city.
You can expect this department to be open and honest about what we discover and we will work together with our community partners to implement solutions.
In order to work toward making a better department we must acknowledge the things we can do better and that work starts today.”
Watch the unnerving incident unfold below.
Warning: Viewer Discretion is Advised: Some of the below content depicts incidents that are graphic in nature and/or contains strong language, which some viewers may find disturbing.