A Cook County medical examiner’s autopsy report reveals Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old Black man fatally wounded by police last month, sustained one shot to the right side of his back, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Toxicology tests also showed O’Neal had no drugs in his system at the time of death. The coroner’s medical autopsy repeats the responding officer’s narrative that O’Neal was armed during the chase. Authorities have confirmed that O’Neal was not in possession of a gun.
O’Neal was shot by officers after they responded to reports of a stolen Jaguar on July 28. A 10-minute dash cam video shows officers in pursuit of O’Neal by car and on foot, firing down a street as O’Neal ran away. Moments later, officers handcuffed him as he lay mortally wounded behind a home on the city’s South Side, reports the Tribune.
A week after the shooting, the Chicago Police Department released a total of nine videos, which displayed procedural errors by the three responding officers. According to the Tribune, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson relieved the officers of their duties due to policy violations. One violation – made evident by the initial dash cam video’s release – bans officers from shooting at a car when it is the lone threat to an officer or others.
The Chicago Tribune filed a FOIA report against Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, after the agency refused to release the names of the responding officers. The Tribune received a document last week with the officers’ names blacked out. In response, the agency cited a specific clause that allows them to withhold information if the details “endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel or any other person.”
Controversy surrounds the use of body camera footage – the officer who shot O’Neal had his camera turned off during the shooting, but turned it on afterwards. In the video he says to another officer, “The shots were coming at us as the car was coming at us. I didn’t know if he was armed or not.”
Last week, the O’Neal family filed a wrongful death suit against the city, WLS reports.
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