Chicago Police Brace for “Civil Unrest” After Releasing Video of Black Man Shot in Back

Paul O’Neal, 18, was killed July 28 following a chase in the city’s South Shore neighborhood.

A screenshot of Chicago Police dashcam footage in the aftermath of the Paul O'Neal shootingIndependent Police Review Authority

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The Chicago Police Department released video footage Friday morning of the death of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal, who was fatally shot in the back by police during a chase on July 28. In a nationwide conference call and bulletin, the police department warned of “civil unrest” following the video’s release. 

The recording shows O’Neal running a stop sign in a stolen Jaguar before hitting a police cruiser. Officers chase O’Neal, who is unarmed, through a yard in the city’s South Shore neighborhood while shots are fired. Officers can then be heard swearing at O’Neal, face down with a bloodied shirt, while handcuffing his limp hands.

The officer who fatally shot O’Neal was in the cruiser that was hit. His body camera didn’t record when he opened fire; police investigators are looking into whether it was turned on.

Sharon Fairley, head of Chicago’s police oversight board, called the video “shocking and disturbing.” The board is in the process of investigating the incident, but three officers were stripped of their policing powers after a preliminary investigation found that they had violated department policy. Fairley says the video was released because it didn’t jeopardize the investigation.

The O’Neal family has filed a lawsuit against the officers, alleging that they fired “without lawful justification or excuse.”

The Independent Police Review Authority released nine videos of the incident, including the one below.

Warning: This video features graphic content.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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