CHICAGO -- An attorney for Paul O’Neal’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department and three officers for what he says is the wrongful death of the 18-year-old in a fatal shooting incident Thursday.
O'Neal's family is also calling for the immediate release of all police videos of the shooting as officials admit the body camera of the officer who shot O’Neal somehow didn't record the incident.
According to police reports, O’Neal was driving a stolen Jaguar when officers pulled him over in the South Shore neighborhood Thursday evening. Officers said they were approaching the vehicle when O’Neal hit the gas, side-swiping a squad car and injuring some officers at the scene.
That’s when police say two officers started firing at the car. A third officer chased O’Neal when they say he got out of the Jaguar and started running away. An autopsy showed that officer fatally shot O’Neal in the back.
“People can say all they want about ‘he shouldn’t' have been in a stolen car,’ that is for the court system to have decided, that's why we have a justice system,” said attorney Michael Oppenheimer.
“What would have been right was the chase him and arrest him if they had to taze him then taze him,” said O’Neal family spokesperson Ja'Mal Green.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson stripped the badges of three officers involved, saying they violated department policy when they fired their weapons.
Dash cam and body camera video from officers on the scene captured the shooting, but the body camera of the officer who shot O’Neal in the back didn't record the incident.
According to CPD, the officers just received the cameras about 8-10 days prior to the incident and they’re investigating to find out whether it was due to a malfunction with the camera or if it was due to “operator error.”
Still, O’Neal’s family and community activists want all footage released immediately. IPRA, which investigates police shootings, usually waits up to 60 days before releasing anything as they conduct an internal investigation.
“If the police were right then they're right and we have to do better as a community with our young people but if they were wrong then we have to hold them accountable,” community activist William Calloway said.
“We’re not against police we love officers that do the right thing and do their job. We'll do ours if they'll commit to doing theirs,” said Ja'Mal Green.
All three of these officers are now on desk duty, not allowed to carry their guns or wear their badge, pending the outcome of the IPRA and interview review of this incident--and will not return to duty unless they are cleared.