Trending Topics

Autopsy Reveals Chicago Police Fatally Shot Paul O’Neal in the Back

Paul O'Neal, the Chicago teen fatally shot by police on July 28. Image courtesy of CBS Chicago.

Paul O’Neal, the Chicago teen fatally shot by police on July 28. Image courtesy of CBS Chicago.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office released the autopsy report for Paul O’Neal Wednesday, revealing that the 18-year-old suffered a single gunshot wound to the upper back. A Chicago police officer fatally shot O’Neal after he reportedly crashed a stolen car and fled the scene on July 28.

According to the autopsy report, toxicology testing found no drugs in the young man’s system. Medical examiners also noted in their report that the officer believed O’Neal may have had a gun and fired shots at him during the foot-chase.

“Believing the shots being fired we’re [sic] coming from O’Neal, [the officer] fired his Glock 9 mm handgun five times in an attempt to stop the threat,” their report read.

Authorities later confirmed the Chicago teen was unarmed.

Two short weeks later, the Independent Police Review Authority released nine video clips of the encounter, which were captured by police dashboard and body cameras. The footage showed a chaotic scene in which the three officers involved made several procedural errors.

Two of the officers took shots at O’Neal as he barreled down the road in a reportedly stolen vehicle, clipped another parked car, and eventually slammed into a police SUV. Reports state that one of the officers fired at least nine shots at the vehicle, while the other officer fired just once.

According to the Chicago Tribune, departmental policy specifically prohibits shooting at a car when it is the lone threat to an officer or others.

O’Neal took off on foot after crashing the car and was chased into a backyard by a third officer. That’s when the fatal shots were fired. Footage of the shooting wasn’t captured, however, as the body camera of the officer “wasn’t working at the time of the incident.” The device was turned on after the shooting though, according to the Chicago Tribune. The “coincidence” left many questioning whether the officer left his camera off on purpose.

The footage also captured damning comments by one of the officers, who implored his fellow comrades to shut their body cameras off as well. After the shooting, one of the officers asked,”He shot at us first, right?”

The Chicago Tribune reports that the officer believed to have shot O’Neal in the backyard mistook gunshots fired by his fellow officers for ones coming from the fleeing teen. That’s when he fired the fatal shots.

“I didn’t know if he was armed or not,” the officer admitted.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has since stripped the unnamed officers of their power, citing departmental policy violations.

According to Atlanta Black Star, O’Neal’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the disgraced officers earlier this month. In it, they accuse the cops of effectively “executing” the Black teen and allege excessive force and battery.

“Paul O’Neal’s constitutional rights were violated,” said attorney Michael Oppenheimer. “These police officers decided, for whatever reason, they were going to play judge, jury and executioner.”

 

What people are saying

Back to top