Body Camera Of Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Paul O’Neal Wasn’t Working

CHICAGO (CBS) — Community activists called on the city to release dashcam and body camera videos from a deadly police shooting last week, but police said a recording of the actual shooting is not available.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the actual shooting was not recorded, although all officers on the scene were wearing body cameras.

“There’s a lot of video footage of it, but the actual encounter, that part is not captured on video footage,” Johnson said.

Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the body camera of the officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Paul O’Neal was not working when he opened fire. Guglielmi said the department is investigating why the camera was not recording.

The confrontation between police and O’Neal happened about 7:30 p.m. Thursday near 74th and Merrill. Police said O’Neal was spotted driving a stolen Jaguar, and struck a responding squad car and a parked vehicle.

Two officers shot at the Jaguar as it continued heading north on Merrill, and O’Neal then hit another squad car, and bailed out, and a third officer shot him.

Guglielmi said the body cameras of the two officers who fired into the vehicle were working, but the body camera of the officer who fired the fatal shot was not working. The officers received the body cameras just days before the shooting.

Three officers involved in the incident have been stripped of their powers, after Johnson said he had questions about the shooting after reviewing that video this weekend.

“I am left with more questions than answers,” Johnson said Sunday. “Departmental policies may have been violated during this incident.”

William Calloway, who fought for the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video, stopped at Chicago Police Headquarters on Monday to argue for the immediate release of videos of O’Neal’s death.

Police said O’Neal was driving a stolen Jaguar, and led officers on a chase before crashing into a squad car and a parked vehicle at 74th and Merrill. Two officers opened fire on the Jaguar.

O’Neal then bailed out, and took off running. That’s when a third officer opened fire, hitting and killing the unarmed 18-year-old. An autopsy revealed O’Neal died from a gunshot wound to the back.

Johnson reviewed body camera and dashboard camera videos, and said he found them troubling. He stripped three of the four police officers involved of their police powers, and handed the investigation over to the Independent Police Review Authority, which hopes to complete its investigation within 60 days. A new policy enacted in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting scandal also requires videos from all police shootings in Chicago to be released within 60 days.

To some activists, that isn’t soon enough.

“I just basically want to request that Superintendent Johnson release this footage immediately. I have mutual acquaintances that have talked to Mr. O’Neal’s family. I think they’re just preparing for his funeral right now. That’s just what they’re focused on, but in this post-Laquan McDonald era, we all know that police accountability is a problem,” Calloway said.

Johnson said the officers involved all have been on the force for three years or less.

“I know how quickly you have to make decisions,” Johnson said. “So if it’s an honest mistake, then we will get them training, coaching, mentoring and get them back out there. If it’s intentional misconduct, they have to be held accountable for it.’

Johnson said the Police Department is committed to transparency and accountability, and that it can only be as strong as the people’s faith in it.

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