Officers Relieved of Police Powers after Shooting
The Chicago police officer who shot an unarmed teenager in the back last week was wearing a body camera, but the camera was not recording at the time of the police shooting, The Chicago Tribune reports. The Chicago Police Department is investigating why the camera did not capture the event, says department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi. Initial investigations into the shooting indicated that the three officers involved violated department policy; the officers have had to turn in their badges.
Police Officer Shot Fleeing O’Neal in Back
The shooting occurred last Thursday, July 28th, after 18-year-old Paul O’Neal crashed a car into two police vehicles in Chicago’s South Side. The owner of the car, a Jaguar, reported the vehicle stolen. Two of the officers in the vehicles opened fire at O’Neal as he was still in the Jaguar. After crashing the car, O’Neal attempted to flee the scene on foot. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Jaguar sideswiped the first police vehicle and hit the second one while it was parked. A third officer who was in one of the police vehicles chased O’Neal on foot and shot him to death. The Cook County medical examiner stated that bullets struck O’Neal in the back. Footage from vehicle-mounted cameras captured parts of the incident, including police shooting at O’Neal while he was in the Jaguar. But the body camera of the officer who killed O’Neal did not capture the fatal shooting.
More Chicago Cops Wearing Body Cameras
The Chicago Police department began to use police body cameras and vehicle dashboard cameras in 2015. In response to recent high-profile police shootings and increased legal scrutiny, the department has increased its use of the cameras in recent months. Police officers now use the cameras in seven different police districts in Chicago, primarily on the South Side. Department policy requires police to release camera footage of police shootings within 60 days, with the option for the police department to seek a 30-day extension.
Chicago Police Department May Be Liable for Wrongful Death
In 2015, the Chicago Police Department revised its use-of-force policy to prohibit firing at a moving vehicle. The department’s Independent Police Review Authority recently released recommendations that would narrow the situations in which police can use force, especially against fleeing suspects. Illinois state law allows police to fire at a fleeing suspect if they believe that the suspect has committed a forcible felony. The recommendation would change the policy to prohibit firing at a fleeing felon unless the officer has reason to believe that the suspect poses an immediate danger to the officer or someone else.
In a case like the O’Neal shooting, police may have already suspect O’Neal of stealing the Jaguar. If the theft involved the use of force (for example, if O’Neal had committed an armed carjacking), this suspicion may have allowed the officers to fire at O’Neal as he fled the scene under current state law. O’Neal also crashed the Jaguar into the police vehicles. If officers suspected that O’Neal intentionally crashed the car in an attempt to injure the officers, this may also have qualified as a forcible felony. If the cash was an accident, on the other hand, it would likely not count as a forcible felony. If the officers shot O’Neal in violation of state law, the officers and the department may be liable for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Chicago Criminal Rights Law
If you or someone you know has been the victim of police brutality, you need expert legal help immediately. Contact an experienced civil rights lawyer at Barney & Hourihane today to get the justice you deserve.
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