Paul O'Neal Police Shooting in Chicago: Everything We Know About the Unarmed Teen's Death
The July police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Chicago seemed destined to fly under the radar, until officials released video footage of the incident that showed officers may have violated use-of-force guidelines. At the business end of the officers' service weapons was 18-year-old Paul O'Neal, who authorities say drove a stolen luxury vehicle into a police vehicle.
O'Neal led police on a chase into the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago on Thursday, July 28. Video from an officer's body-worn camera shows at least one officer firing multiple shots at a fleeing vehicle. According to revised use-of-force policies in Chicago, officers are prohibited from "firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person."
An officer's body-worn camera also captures the dying teen being handcuffed, as he laid in a pool of his own blood. Police later revealed that the teen was unarmed and relieved two officers of their police powers, the Associated Press reported. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Release of shooting video Friday came just a few days ahead of the second anniversary of Michael Brown's Aug. 9 police-involved death in Ferguson, Missouri, which helped to grow the Black Lives Matter movement. On Sunday night, hundreds of protesters took to Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping district to demonstrate over O'Neal's death, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Many carried signs of the movement's rallying call.
The shooting also capped a deadly month for police violence victims and for officers — the July deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the ambush of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas, took place over a two-week span. In Chicago, where the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating patterns of policing that violate the constitutional rights of residents, the community was still reeling from the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
Here are a few more details about the O'Neal shooting:
Body camera footage revealed the reaction of police officers.
Apparently, the officers involved in the shooting were only fretting over the possibility of being placed on desk duty — not that they had just shot an unarmed person.
"I think I shot that motherf*cker, man," one officer is heard saying in footage. Another officer is heard saying, "F*ck, man. I'm going to be on a desk now for 30 goddamn days."
The names of the officers who fired their weapons have not been released, as of Monday. According to the Sun-Times, the body-worn camera of the officer whose shot killed O'Neal wasn't working. The Independent Police Review Authority, a civilian oversight board, said there was no camera angle that captures O'Neal's death.
His family said O'Neal "had goals" and was college-bound.
"I really want everyone to know that Paul was loved by my mother," O'Neal's sister said in a statement that aired on MSNBC last Friday. She said he had recently graduated high school and that he wanted to go to school to become an electrician.
"Paul had goals," she added before becoming choked up.