CHICAGO — The Independent Police Review Authority released nine videos in the fatal Chicago police shooting of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal, whose autopsy results showed he died of a gunshot wound to the back.
WARNING: Videos contains graphic language and content. Viewer discretion advised.
In an unprecedented break from the past, IPRA has released the video only eight days after the incident.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Paul O’Neal and my heart goes out to his family and friends and to the community that has lost yet another young black man,” said IPRA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley. “I want to express my personal commitment to seeing that justice is served and our pursuit of justice here will be steadfast. I applaud Superintendent Johnson for his swift and immediate actions in this incident.”
The videos show officers firing on a moving stolen vehicle, which police say was driven by O’Neal. The vehicle strikes a squad car before O’Neal runs out.
Then officers pursue him through a yard and over a fence while shots are heard ringing out. Officers then cuff O’Neal, who is face down on the ground with blood on the back of his white shirt.
The family of O’Neal was so upset after watching the footage that they left without speaking at a news conference scheduled for Friday morning.
The family lawyer Michael Oppenheimer and activist Ja’Mal Green spoke instead, describing what they saw.
“After he was shot, he was placed in handcuffs, and he sat there for a long time, dying, and that was very shocking to me,” Green said.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson released the following statement:
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.
The Fraternal Order of Police released a statement saying:
As the Chicago Police Department continues its investigation, the Fraternal Order of Police awaits further developments and communications concerning this incident. While there are multiple aspects to consider pertaining to the released videos, it is important to be mindful of how rapidly this event unfolded. Due to the fact that this chaotic incident occurred in a matter of moments, each individual perspective needs to be taken into consideration.
It is the Lodge’s hope that the process of this investigation will be conducted in a manner that is guided by the utmost level of professionalism and expertise. Now more than ever, police-involved situations which result in a death need to be completed in a time frame necessary to ensure that a thorough and impartial examination is adhered to.
While this case remains fluid in nature, it is of critical importance to every Chicagoan to not rush to judgement and to allow the systems in place to play out.
We’ve posted a few of the full videos below, but you can find them all posted here.