R.I.P. Paul O’Neal.
Videos from the fatal shooting of teenager Paul O’Neal by Chicago police show officers firing into a car that was being driven away from them and, later, officers handcuffing O’Neal as he lay wounded behind a home.
Acting with uncharacteristic swiftness, Chicago officials on Friday released nine videos showing events leading up to the shooting of O’Neal, 18, last week.
The release came around 11 a.m. Friday, less than two hours after the head of the Chicago police oversight agency said the video footage was “shocking and disturbing” and that her heart goes out to the family of O’Neal.
The dead teen’s family was so distraught after viewing videos at the Independent Police Review Authority headquarters Friday morning that they left without making any public comment, their lawyer told reporters.
“It is one of the most horrific things I have seen,” Michael Oppenheimer, the family’s lawyer, said of the videos.
The videos show police shooting into a car in the moments before O’Neal fled and an officer fatally shot him in the back. The fatal shots are not shown on video but can be heard.
The video clearly shows officers firing down the street at the car as it speeds away.
The city’s use of force policy explicitly bars police from shooting into a car when the vehicle represents the only danger.
The videos are laden with profanity. “I think I shot that motherf—–, man,” one officer can be heard to say. He tells other officers the person he shot is lying three houses over. “Think I’m good – bunch of shots,” the officer says.
“We just came from watching Chicago police officers execute Paul O’Neal,” Oppenheimer said of the videos.”These police officers decided to play judge, jury and executioner.”
Oppenheimer noted that no body camera captured the actual fatal shooting. He accused the officers of intentionally doing that.
“They decided they would control this, so the cover-up has begun,” he said.
Ja’Mal Green, an activist who is acting as the family’s spokesman, called it “amazing” how the officers “treat us like savages.” He said the officers showed no remorse, letting O’Neal lie handcuffed “for a long time.”
“That was very shocking to me,” he said. “It was very hard for me to watch this video as well.”