Video being described as "horrific" and "graphic" was released Friday in connection with the fatal Chicago police shooting of an 18-year-old car theft suspect as he ran away from officers last week.
The videos do not show the gunfire that killed Paul O'Neal, but show the events leading up to and after the shooting, including officers firing at a moving car and O'Neal bleeding on the ground.
"It's disturbing and it's violent and it's scary," said O'Neal family attorney Michael Oppenheimer, who called the shooting an "execution." "Again, I’m asking for a special prosecutor — I’m not the prosecutor now. What I saw was pretty cold-blooded. There’s a lot of emotion there, There’s a lot of stuff. There's no question in my mind they ran this kid down and murdered him."
U.S. & World
O'Neal, of the 1700 block of E 70th St, was killed around 9 p.m. July 28 in the city's South Shore neighborhood. 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.
In the footage, a Jaguar is seen scraping a squad car and another vehicle as an officer opens fire on it. At one point, someone is seen running from the vehicle and officers follow on foot. The suspect then disappears from view and gunshots are heard.
O'Neal is later seen on the ground, his back bloody as police handcuff him.
Officers allege O'Neal fired at them before he was shot. At one point, an officer is heard saying, "They shot at us too right?"
Police later said no weapon was recovered from the scene.
Autopsy results show O'Neal died of a gunshot wound to the back.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the dashcam and body camera videos suggested departmental policy was violated in the shooting. Three officers have since been "relieved of police powers."
"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," Johnson said in a statement Friday. "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."
"A young man lost his life, and as a city we grieve any time that happens," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "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."
Dean Angelo, president of Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, stressed in a statement the need for "each individual perspective" on the "chaotic incident" to be considered.
"Now more than ever, police-involved situations which result in a death need to be completed in a time frame necessary to ensure that a thorough and impartial examination is adhered to," Angelo said. "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."
Attorneys for the O'Neal family said his relatives saw the footage moments before it was released to the public and were visibly upset and too distraught to address the media after.
They spoke hours later, saying they "just want answers."
"I’m very hurt, words can’t describe how I feel at this moment,” said his sister Briana Adams, who noted in an emotional statement that she wanted "everybody to know that Paul had goals."
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the shooting's "chronology of events is complex" and still being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.
Earlier this week, the department said it was investigating after it was found that the body camera of an officer involved in the shooting wasn't recording at the time.
"You actually see the accident and it appeared to me that you see a Jaguar that Paul was in, the police car goes down the wrong way and slams into the Jaguar, the Jaguar stops," Oppenheimer said. "It's quite disturbing. All you see is a bunch of smoke and then you see running and hear the gunshots. It's pretty graphic."
The release Friday morning is the first time the city has released video of a fatal police shooting under the department's new policy, which calls for the video to be released within 60 days.
The policy was part of an effort to restore public trust after video released last year showed an officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. The footage sparked protests and outrage nationwide and ultimately led to the firing of former police superintendent Garry McCarthy.
O'Neal's family has since filed a wrongful death suit in federal court.