Police accountability top of mind at City Council as O’Neal autopsy released

CHICAGO -- The Chicago City Council held hearings on police accountability and oversight on the same day that the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office made public the autopsy report from the city’s latest fatal police shooting.

Aldermen are seeking input from academics – and activists – as they try to reform police oversight with a new agency to replace the independent police review authority.

Today, the City Council once again heard the outrage sparked by videos of police killings. The testimony was filled with tension during an hours-long hearing on police accountability at city hall.

Video of police killing of Laquan McDonald released last year became a flashpoint, and sparked discussion of reform.

The mayor said IPRA, the agency responsible for police oversight had lost credibility, and would have to be replaced. But hanging like a dark cloud over these hearings is the specter of the latest fatal police shooting: Paul O’Neal.

Today, the Cook County Medical Examiner released its report on O’Neal’s autopsy.  The key findings show O’Neal died of a single gunshot wound. He was struck on the right side of his back, and no drugs were found in his system.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson moved swiftly to take the badges of three officers involved.

There will be several more hearings on accountability as aldermen work to craft this ordinance.  In fact, the next hearing will be one week from today.