Lawyer for O’Neal’s family seeks special prosecutor in fatal police shooting

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CHICAGO -- Family members of an 18-year-old Chicago man fatally shot by police are speaking out after police video of the incident was made public Friday.

The family, including Paul O’Neal’s mother, saw the video shortly before it was released to the public.

The O’Neal family’s attorney Michael Oppenheimer condemned the killing saying the newly released video shows an “execution.”

He views the city’s response as a “cover-up.”

O’Neal’s sister also watched the video this morning, but says she had to leave the room before it was over because it was too disturbing.

O’Neal’s older sister Briana Adams began to talk about her brother’s future but was also overcome  with emotion. She said her brother was always the one to console her.

“I would be upset, frowning about something, and he would always come in and be like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” she said.

The medical examiner’s office said O’Neal died of a gunshot wound to the back.

Seeing the confrontation with police and its bloody aftermath was painful, but necessary for O’Neal’s family, they say.

“I don’t want anyone to lie to my face and try to show my brother’s image. I wanted to know the truth for myself,” Briana said.

The truth may never be known as the body camera on the officer who fired the fatal shots was not recording.

The police department and the Independent Police Review Authority are both investigating.

But at an earlier news conference outside of IPRA headquarters, the lawyer for O’Neal’s family is demanding a special prosecutor take over the case.

“I am asking that a special prosecutor be appointed immediately, not Anita Alvarez, but a special prosecutor look into this case immediately because there’s no question in my mind that criminal acts were committed,” Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer is a former prosecutor.  He says the video shows an execution before a trial.

“What I saw were these police officers murder this kid. That’s what I saw.  And if he was in a stolen car? That’s for the court system.  It is a property crime.  It is a property crime, and the last time I checked the statute, it did not carry the penalty of death,” he said.

Activist Ja’Mal Green is working with the family and says this killing undermines the effort to repair the relationship between the police department and the black community.

“They want us to be held accountable in our communities and break our code of silence,” Green says.  “We want that for the police department as well.  And then we can start building that relationship like we should.”

The O’Neal family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city saying O’Neal was wrongfully killed.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was disturbed by the video and has stripped three offices of their police powers, as the incident is being investigated.



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