CHICAGO (CBS) — Community activists who were allowed to see videos from the fatal police shooting of Paul O’Neal before they were made public
Several activists were invited to Chicago Police Headquarters on Friday to see the videos a couple hours before the Independent Police Review Authority posted them online.
“My heart is completely broken,” activist Jedidiah Brown said after watching the videos. “I felt like that was a tear right down the middle of this relationship between the community and police, and I think it’s going to even further divide communities in Chicago as it relates to public safety in the city.”
Fellow activist William Calloway was visibly shaken after watching the videos.
“I’m just tired of seeing us getting killed. I’m just so tired of seeing us get killed, that’s all,” he said. “The level of trauma not just me but my community has experienced over these past years is just completely, completely unexplainable.”
Brown claimed the videos show an officer stomping the teen’s lifeless body after he was shot in the back. He said he also heard police telling other officers to turn off their body cameras.
“I saw a police officer approach a lifeless O’Neal, face down to the ground, with three or four other officers over his body, screaming at him to put his hands behind his back, run up, stomp him in his back, and then grab his hands very violently, and put him in handcuffs, clearly lifeless,” he said.
Two body camera videos show several officers standing around O’Neal after he had been shot. A blood stain is visible on his back, and one officer has his foot on O’Neal’s leg as he is face down.
O’Neal, 18, was shot and killed by Chicago police last week, after allegedly ramming two squad cars while fleeing police in a stolen Jaguar near 73rd and Merrill.
Brown said also said it appeared officers immediately began trying to cover up what happened. He said the video shows officers suggesting others to turn off their body cameras.
“We saw them pointing at the camera,” he said. “We saw them try to get the story together. Clearly no one at the scene saw a weapon, and it is confirmed that Paul O’Neal didn’t have a weapon in his hand.”
He also questioned why no videos show the fatal shot.
“It just doesn’t sit well, and is has me very heartbroken and very angry at this particular moment,” he said.
Police have confirmed none of the videos from the scene show the shot that killed O’Neal, but have said it does not appear the officer who fired the shot tampered with his body camera.
Calloway said more needs to be done to hold officers accountable for misconduct. He said they must face criminal prosecution, not just the loss of their police powers.
“We want quality equal justice. We don’t have equality in our communities when it comes to these police officers, man, at all; and I’m tired of going after videos just for them to lose their badges and to sit on desk duty. That’s not enough for us. We want these officers to go to jail,” he said.
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