Police have warned of violence against law enforcement after they released video of the fatal shooting of “unarmed” black teenager Paul O’Neal following a police chase in Chicago last Thursday.
Authorities believe that making the video public, along with the Aug. 9 anniversary of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, when he reached for an officer’s gun, could create an uptick in violence against police nationwide,” according to a memo obtained by Fox News.
Three Chicago police officers have been relieved of duty after O’Neal was shot in the back during an investigation into a stolen vehicle in Chicago’s South Side on July 28, ABC News reported.
Authorities have said officers stopped a Jaguar convertible that had been reported stolen. Police said officers opened fire after the driver, identified as O’Neal, put the car in drive and sideswiped a squad car and a parked vehicle.
O’Neal was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Although the incident remains under investigation, “it appears that departmental policies may have been violated by at least 2 of the police officers,” Guglielmi said in a statement.
O’Neal wasn’t exactly unarmed as he used his car as a weapon and hit two police cars during the chase.
He also came close to hitting an officer, which resulted in one of the officer’s firing at the vehicle, as seen in one of the videos.
In neither video that was released is the actual moment when O’Neal was shot seen, but authorities confirmed he was shot in the back.
Community activist Jedidiah Brown, who was allowed by police to see videos, said he saw officer’s stomping on the teen’s dead body and heard one officer tell the others to turn off their body cameras, CBS news reported.
“I saw a police officer approach a lifeless O’Neal, face down to the ground, with three or four other officers over his body, screaming at him to put his hands behind his back, run up, stomp him in his back, and then grab his hands very violently, and put him in handcuffs, clearly lifeless,” Brown told CBS.
“My heart is completely broken,” he said. “I felt like that was a tear right down the middle of this relationship between the community and police, and I think it’s going to even further divide communities in Chicago as it relates to public safety in the city.”
Illinois Police Review Authority Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley released a statement on the shooting, and the investigation, on Friday.
First and foremost, like all Chicagoans, I am deeply saddened by the death of Paul O’Neal and my heart goes out to his family and friends and to the community that has lost yet another young black man. I want to express my personal commitment to seeing that justice is served and our pursuit of justice here will be steadfast. I applaud Superintendent Johnson for his swift and immediate actions in this incident.
Today IPRA is releasing video material related to the officer-involved shooting at 74th and Merrill on July 28th that resulted in the death of Mr. O’Neal. The investigation into this tragic event is still very much in the early stages. But we are proceeding as deliberately and expediently as possible in pursuit of a swift but fair determination.
As with every investigation, where we believe information can be released to the public without jeopardizing the investigation, we do so, even if it is before the 60-day timeline outlined in the City’s transparency policy. We have made that determination here, so we are releasing this information that we understand is of utmost public interest.
Please bear in mind that this video material, as shocking and disturbing as it is, is not the only evidence to be gathered and analyzed when conducting a fair and thorough assessment of the conduct of police officers in performing their duties. 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. As the investigation continues we will release more evidence on our case portal once we’ve had an opportunity to determine whether or not the release of evidence will impede the investigation that I believe will take several weeks to conclude.
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**WARNING – FOR LANGUAGE AND GRAPHIC CONTENT.**
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