Video Shows Officers Firing into O’Neal’s Car
The Chicago Police Department has decided to release video footage from the body camera of one of the officers involved in the police shooting of Paul O’Neal, an unarmed black teen, according to The Chicago Tribune. The department released the video footage on Friday, August 5. The shooting occurred on July 28, after O’Neal crashed a stolen Jaguar into the vehicles of multiple police officers who were pursuing him. Officers first shot into the stolen vehicle. Then, after O’Neal attempted to flee the scene on foot, one of the officers pursued him on foot as well and shot him in the back. O’Neal died of the gunshot. He was unarmed.
Body Camera Footage from Shooter Still Missing
The New York Times reports that the video footage of the police shooting that the department released on August 5 comes from the body camera of one of the police officers that was in a car that O’Neal struck with the Jaguar. The footage shows the Jaguar striking the police vehicle, then driving around the stopped vehicle, almost running over one of the police officers.
The officer with the body camera gets out of the car and begins shooting at the Jaguar as it drives away. The body camera footage that the department released does not show the officer shooting O’Neal in the back. It does, however, show that the officers handcuffed O’Neal after he sustained the mortal gunshot wound and left him prone on the ground after the shooting. The police department states that they are investigating why the body camera of the officer who shot O’Neal did not capture the footage of the fatal shooting.
Police Violated Procedure in O’Neal Shooting
The Chicago Police Department has already stated that it appears that the officers violated police department policy during the events surrounding the shooting. Police use of force guidelines prohibit police from firing into a moving vehicle if the danger of the moving vehicle itself is the only threat to the police officers at the time. Illinois law allows police to fire at a fleeing suspect if they have a reason to believe that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officers or the public. The video captured one of the officers stating that he believed that the suspect had fired at the officers, but neither the video nor any official police department statement indicates that O’Neal had a gun.
O’Neal’s Family Suing City for Wrongful Death
Because O’Neal was unarmed and running away on foot when he was shot, and because he was running away from officers when one of them shot him in the back, it seems that there is no real argument that he posed a threat to the officers at the time they shot him. If O’Neal was unarmed, then it also seems likely that he accomplished the theft of the Jaguar without using force. Although Illinois law allows officers to fire at a fleeing suspect if they believe the suspect has committed a forcible felony (a felony that included the use of violence, like a carjacking), this exception does not seem to apply in this case. A lawyer for the family of O’Neal have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court. The lawsuit seeks money damages from the City of Chicago to compensate the family for the killing of O’Neal. The lawyer for the family believes that the police officer intentionally disabled his body camera before shooting O’Neal.
Contact a Chicago Police Misconduct Attorney
If you or someone you know has been the victim of police brutality, you need expert legal help fast. Get in contact with an experienced civil rights attorney at Barney & Hourihane in Chicago today to get the justice you deserve.
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