Chicago Releases Video from Police Shooting of Unarmed Teen

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Chicago police investigate a police-involved fatal shooting in the 7300 block of South Merrill Avenue in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood on Friday, July 29, 2016. Chicago police say they shot and killed an 18-year-old man who was in a stolen Jaguar that sideswiped a squad car and hit a parked car, injuring some officers, Thursday evening. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP)
Chicago police investigate a police-involved fatal shooting in the 7300 block of South Merrill Avenue in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood on Friday, July 29, 2016. Chicago police say they shot and killed an 18-year-old man who was in a stolen Jaguar that sideswiped a squad car and hit a parked car, injuring some officers, Thursday evening. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP)

A body camera video from a police-involved shooting in Chicago has added yet another layer to the ongoing national conversation about policing.

The video, which shows the moments leading up to the death of 18-year-old unarmed teenager Paul O’Neal, prominently shows an officer shooting at a moving car, presumably a car O’Neal was suspected of stealing. The car chase devolves into a foot chase into an alley, during which more shots from police are heard. According to CNN, an officer is heard yelling to O’Neal to get down and to put his hands behind his back. “You shot at us,” the officer is heard saying, while shouting an expletive at O’Neal. The video ends with a bloodied O’Neal being put into handcuffs while face down on the ground.

During the video, police officers are heard trying to figure out where the gunshots were coming from. “I shot,” one officer said. “I don’t know who was shooting in the alley.” Another officer asks, “They shot at us, too? Right?”

O’Neal was killed by a gunshot wound to the back; the actual moment of his death wasn’t recorded.

The video of O’Neal’s last moments has now been reviewed by O’Neal’s family and O’Neal family lawyer Michael Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer spoke about the video in strong terms during a press conference Friday. “We just watched the family watch the execution of their loving son,” Oppenheimer said. “It is one of the most horrific things that I have seen.” According to TIME, Head of the Independent Police Review Authority Sharon Fairley has also called the video “shocking and disturbing.” An investigation into the shooting is underway.

It was determined by officials that the three officers involved in the shooting had violated department policy. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has since stripped the officers of their police powers.

According to the Associated Press, the video was the first released under Chicago’s new policy, which states that a video of a police-involved shooting should be released within 60 days. This policy was the result of the controversy surrounding the police and city handling of the death of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by police.