CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials have released nine videos of the moments leading up to and immediately after police shot and killed 18-year-old Paul O’Neal last week.
The videos, recorded by police body cameras and dashboard cameras, do not show the shot that killed O’Neal, but do show officers shooting into his car moments before he fled on foot, and then show police handcuffing him as he lay on the ground behind a South Shore home.
The Independent Police Review Authority released videos of the incident Friday morning, but first allowed O’Neal’s family and their attorney to review the footage at IPRA headquarters. A group of community activists also was allowed to watch the video at Police Headquarters.
Nine separate videos were posted to the IPRA website, including four body camera videos and five dashboard camera videos.
The videos show officers shooting into the car O’Neal was driving as it drives past squad cars, moments before O’Neal got out and fled on foot, and another officer shot him in the back. The fatal shots were not filmed by any dashboard or body cameras, but the sound of the shots can be heard on the videos.
One of the videos shows an officer exit his car and shoot at the car O’Neal was driving. That officer then gave chase on foot, and caught up with other officers after O’Neal had been shot in the back yard of a nearby home, and was lying face down on the ground.
Officers can be seen handcuffing O’Neal as he laid on the ground. At several points in the videos, officers use profanity.
“I think I shot that mother*****,” one officer said.
One officer can be heard calling O’Neal a “b**** a** mother*****” as police tell him to put his hands behind his back.
“F***ing shooting at us,” an officer says as police cuff O’Neal.
O’Neal family attorney Michael Oppenheimer said, in his opinion, the videos show “cold-blooded murder.”
“We just came from watching Chicago police officers execute Paul O’Neal,” he said. “We just watched the family watch the execution of their loving son.”
IPRA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley said she was “deeply saddened” by O’Neal’s death, and said she was committed to making sure justice is served. She said the videos are “shocking and disturbing,” but noted the are not the only evidence in the case.
“To that end, IPRA is conducting a full and thorough investigation of the entire incident including the use of force, the pursuit, body camera usage and all other possible policy and procedural violations that occurred during the incident,” she said in a statement Friday morning.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson issued the following statement about the release of the videos:
I applaud the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley for being so transparent and open with the video release and I want to pledge the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department during this investigation.
My promise to the people of Chicago is that we will be guided by the facts and should wrongdoing be discovered; individuals will be held accountable for their actions.
The shooting of Mr. O’Neal has raised a lot of questions about whether departmental policies were followed. While IPRA conducts a thorough investigation, we will not wait to look for ways we can learn from this incident.
I’ve challenged my team to take a hard look at the training and tactics from this incident, including looking at national best practices on use of force to determine how we can best serve our officers so that they can best serve the people of the city.
You can expect this department to be open and honest about what we discover and we will work together with our community partners to implement solutions.
In order to work toward making a better department we must acknowledge the things we can do better and that work starts today.
The Chicago police union urged people to let the process take its course.
“While this case remains fluid in nature, it is of critical importance to every Chicagoan, to not rush to judgement, and to allow the systems in place to play out,” the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 said in a statement.
Police officials have said the fatal shot was not recorded by any of the body cameras or dashboard cameras at the scene. The body camera of the officer who fatally shot O’Neal was not working at the time.
Johnson has said there is no evidence to suggest the officer turned off or tampered with the camera to prevent it from recording.
Mayor Emanuel said he has faith in IPRA’s efforts.
“A young man lost his life, and as a city we grieve any time that happens. I support Superintendent Johnson’s quick and decisive action over the past eight days, which I believe underscores the fundamental change in how the city handles police shootings. I know Sharon Fairley is already investigating this case, and I have faith that she will reach a conclusion and promptly issue recommendations,” he said in a prepared statement.
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