Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority has released nine videos capturing the lead-up to and aftermath of the police shooting of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal, an unarmed African-American man killed by Chicago Police Department officers in South Shore on July 28.
The incident happened around 7:30 PM, when officers tried to pull O’Neal over in a black Jaguar they suspected had been stolen in suburban Bolingbrook.
Videos taken from the dashcams of two police SUVs and from the body cams of three officers who later discharged their weapons show the Jaguar speeding past the first police vehicle, then colliding head-on with a second police SUV before driving off.
As the Jaguar squeezes between the first SUV and another parked car, the driver of the first police vehicle exits. A second officer is then seen jumping out from the SUV’s passenger seat. Both officers fire at the Jaguar as it drives away. The two officers then run toward the Jaguar as it collides with a second police SUV.
O’Neal is then seen fleeing from the Jaguar toward the backyard of a home on South Merrill Avenue. He’s chased by several officers. Then shots ring out.
Later in the video, O’Neal can be seen lying on the ground in the backyard of the home with a large red bloodstain on his back. He is surrounded by four officers.
“Bitch-ass motherfucker!” an officer can be heard saying as a second officer grabs O’Neal’s head and shoves it down onto the concrete. “Get your hands behind your back!” the second officer says as he handcuffs O’Neal. The teen’s arms appear limp.
“You shoot too?” the second officer asks his partner.
“I shot at the car after it almost hit you,” his partner replies.
Another officer searches O’Neal’s backpack and finds only a screwdriver.
“Man, I think I shot that motherfucker, man!” the first officer says to another officer approximately one minute and ten seconds into the video above. “Shit!”
He walks away. Then someone can be heard asking him whether he indeed shot at O’Neal.
“Dude, I heard shots,” the first officer shouts. “I don’t fucking know, man! When he came out the car, I shot at him!”
After leaving the backyard, the second officer’s partner can be heard saying, “Fuck, man. I’m gonna be on the desk for 30 goddamn days now. Fucking desk duty for 30 days now. Motherfucker!”
O’Neal died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital shortly after 9 PM that evening.
The next day, police superintendent Eddie Johnson issued a department-wide memo acquired by the Tribune.
“I have reviewed the preliminary information of our on-scene detectives and am left with more questions than answers,” he wrote.
The three officers involved with O’Neal’s death were put on administrative duty and stripped of their police powers after a preliminary investigation determined they “violated department policy.”
Since 2015 CPD has prohibited officers from firing at a moving vehicle if it constitutes the only threat to an officer or others. In July, IPRA found two other police shootings unjustified, and recommended the firing of the three officers involved. Those officers had also fired their guns at moving cars.
In the wake of the Laquan McDonald scandal, the city adopted a new policy mandating that any dashboard or body-cam footage of police shootings be released to the public within 60 days.