The video showing the Chicago police shooting death of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal has been released. Video details were made available to the public via the city’s Independent Police Review Authority’s (IPRA) online case portal Friday morning.
O’Neal’s family, their attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, and a group of activists gathered at the IPRA headquarters were the first to have access to the video, ABC 7 Chicago reports.
The IPRA is investigating the shooting. After viewing the video, O’Neal’s family left the IPRA headquarters in tears, according to reports.
“We just watched a family watch the execution of their loving son,” Oppenheimer said. “It is one of the most horrific things that I have seen, aside from being in a movie. These police officers decided to play judge, jury and executioner.”
Activists Jedidiah Brown was one of the first to see the video. He said he thinks what he witnessed will create a larger divide between Chicago police and the community.
“Watching that video, I feel like that was a tear right down the middle of the relationship between the community and police,” he said. “I saw an officer stomp a lifeless body in the back with his foot, while other officers stood over his body and screamed at him to put his hands behind his back. You could tell, watching these videos, that the narrative to cover this up had already begun before anything happened. You could hear officers telling other officers to cut off their body cameras.”
Police shot and killed O’Neal last Thursday evening near 74th Street and South Merrill Avenue. They were reportedly attempting to stop the car he was driving — a vehicle police said was reported stolen from the suburb of Bolingbrook earlier that day.
The video shows one officer shooting at the vehicle as it advanced towards his partner. Then the vehicle is seen ramming into another squad car, with the officers involved in the crash chasing O’Neal on foot.
He was shot by one of the pursuing officers in a nearby backyard, after being told to put his hands up. Then officers screamed at O’Neal as he laid on the ground, saying, “Why did you have to shoot at us?”
O’Neal, who was unarmed at the time, was shot in the back, and no one was seen rendering any aid in the footage. Video of the shooting was recovered from police vehicle dashboard cameras and body cameras worn by two of the three officers who fired at O’Neal. The shooting itself was not captured because the camera worn by the officer who fired the fatal shot was either not working or fell off during the chase, officials say.
The three officers have since been stripped of their police powers, pending the outcome of an independent investigation. Watch the unnerving incident unfold below.
Warning: Viewer discretion is advised. Some of the below content depicts incidents that are graphic in nature and/or contains strong language, which some viewers may find disturbing.