The family of an 18-year-old man shot to death by Chicago Police last week has filed a wrongful death suit in federal court amid questions as to why a body camera worn by one of the officers did not record the shooting, according to an attorney representing his family.
Paul O'Neal, of the 1700 block of East 70th Street, was killed around 9 p.m. Thursday night in the city's South Shore neighborhood, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. He was unnarmed, a police spokesman confirmed.
"All we have asked for is that the truth come out," said Michael Oppenheimer, attorney for the O'Neal family. "And all of the sudden a lot of these body cams don't work."
A police spokesperson said that the body cameras "were working" and had been issued to police in that district in the past eight to ten days, but it was unclear how many times they had been used prior to the shooting.
Police say the Independent Police Review Authority and Chicago Police Department are investigating into why the fatal encounter was not recorded by the body camera.
Around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, officers saw a Jaguar S-Type convertible that had been reported stolen from Bolingbrook, according to police. Police said they "attempted to curb" the car near 74th Street and Merrill Avenue when the Jaguar sideswiped the police vehicle and another nearby parked car.
Three officers then fired their weapons at the Jaguar, police said. O'Neal, who was in the car, was taken to an area hospital where he died, police said.
According to police, officers sustained injuries while attempting to stop the vehicle and were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“There’s a lot of video footage of it, but the actual encounter, that part is not captured on video,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a press conference Monday.
Johnson also said all the officers involved were wearing body cameras.
"The officers played judge, jury and executioner. Their own sense of justice. We want justice now," Oppenheimer said.
Ja'mal Green, a spokesman for the O’Neal family, said Monday that functional body cameras and holding police accountable are crucial to establishing a relationship between authorities and the communities they police.
"The biggest thing I want you guys to understand is that Paul was unarmed," Green said. "So, did he pose a threat to an officer with a gun and a Taser?"