Watch CBS News

Paul O'Neal's Family Says Video Shows Police 'Execution'

CHICAGO (CBS) — The family attorney for Paul O'Neal said, said video of the moments leading up to the fatal police shooting of the teen was "one of the most horrific things that I have seen."

"We just came from watching Chicago police officers execute Paul O'Neal," attorney Michael Oppenheimer said. "We just watched the family watch the execution of their loving son."

"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," he said. "It is amazing to me. It is horrific, it is tragic, that these officers did what they did, and took their street justice in their own hands; the things that they are trying to prevent, or supposed to prevent."

Log# 1081642 - Bodycam Video #2 by COPA Chicago on Vimeo

O'Neal's sister said she wants to know why her brother had to die.

"We just want answers, the truth, that's it," Briana Adams during a news conference at Oppenheimer's office.

Adams said she will remember her younger brother as someone who was always smiling and always joking, was "best friend" to all he knew, had graduated high school, was ready to begin trade school and hoped to work for ComEd.

"Paul had goals," she said.

"He was loved by my mother, his family -- me," she told reporters.

Activist Ja'Mal Green, acting as a family spokesman, said the video was "shocking" and difficult to watch.

"I'm out of words for what we've seen today on video," he said. "This is amazing to me how these officers come in our neighborhoods and treat us like savages like this. The way Paul was treated was ridiculous."

O'Neal, 18, was shot and killed by Chicago police last week, after allegedly ramming two squad cars while fleeing police in a stolen Jaguar near 73rd and Merrill.

"If he did steal that car, that is for the courts to decide, but instead the police officers decided to be the judge and execute him," Green said.


Related Posts:
WATCH: After Fatal Police Shooting of Paul O'Neal IPRA Releases Video

Activist Says Paul O'Neal Videos Show Officer Stomping Lifeless Teen

Body Camera Of Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Paul O'Neal Wasn't Working
18-Year-Old Suspect Killed By Chicago Cops Was Shot In Back: Autopsy
Family Of Fatally Shot Suspect Files Suit Against Officers
IPRA Links To Videos From Fatal Shooting

Oppenheimer called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the shooting.

"What I saw was a cold-blooded murder. It was a cold-blooded killing. You don't even shoot, and you shouldn't shoot dogs that are running away," he said. "There is no question in my mind that criminal acts were committed."

He also noted the videos don't show the shot that killed O'Neal, and accused police officers of intentionally turning off body cameras to cover up what happened.


"They decided they would control this, so the cover-up has begun," he said. "I can only imagine what that body camera footage would have shown if we had seen it."

While at least one police officer can be heard accusing O'Neal of shooting at police, Oppenheimer and Green noted O'Neal was not armed. Oppenheimer said the officer who claimed O'Neal shot at him was just trying to justify the shooting.

"He wanted to think that Paul shot at him, but he didn't, and they knew that Paul didn't shoot at him, and he said it to cover it up; to try to convince the public and the world that whoever's going to see this that, oh, he had the intent of shooting at someone who shot at him, and it's simply not true," he said.

Oppenheimer and Green also criticized the behavior of some officers after O'Neal was shot, saying they showed no remorse for killing him.

"They did everything but high-five each other," Oppenheimer said.

Green said officers can be seen shaking hands after O'Neal was shot.

"We see a few things that show that it really was no remorse from a couple of the officers. They basically thought that it was a justified shooting," he said.

Log# 1081642 - Bodycam Video #1 by COPA Chicago on Vimeo

The confrontation between police and O'Neal happened about 7:30 p.m. that night. Police said O'Neal was spotted driving a stolen Jaguar, and struck a responding squad car and a parked vehicle.

Two officers shot at the Jaguar as it continued heading north on Merrill, and O'Neal then hit another squad car, and bailed out, and a third officer shot him. An autopsy determined O'Neal died of a gunshot wound to the back.

The Independent Police Review Authority released videos of the incident Friday morning, but first allowed O'Neal's family and their attorney to review the footage.

Nine separate videos were posted to the IPRA website, including four body camera videos and five dashboard camera videos.

The videos show officers shooting into the car O'Neal was driving as it drives past squad cars, moments before O'Neal got out and fled on foot, and another officer shot him in the back. The fatal shots were not filmed by any dashboard or body cameras, but the sound of the shots can be heard on the videos.

One of the videos shows an officer exit his car and shoot at the car O'Neal was driving. That officer then gave chase on foot, and caught up with other officers after O'Neal had been shot in the back yard of a nearby home, and was lying face down on the ground.

Officers can be seen handcuffing O'Neal as he laid on the ground. At several points in the videos, officers use profanity.

"I think I shot that mother*****," one officer said.

One officer can be heard calling O'Neal a "b**** a** mother*****" as police tell him to put his hands behind his back.

"F***ing shooting at us," an officer says as police cuff O'Neal.

Log# 1081642 - Bodycam Video #3 by COPA Chicago on Vimeo

IPRA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley said she was "deeply saddened" by O'Neal's death, and said she was committed to making sure justice is served. She said the videos are "shocking and disturbing," but noted the are not the only evidence in the case.

"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," she said in a statement Friday morning.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson issued the following statement about the release of the videos:

I applaud the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley for being so transparent and open with the video release and I want to pledge the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department during this investigation.
My promise to the people of Chicago is that we will be guided by the facts and should wrongdoing be discovered; individuals will be held accountable for their actions.
The shooting of Mr. O'Neal has raised a lot of questions about whether departmental policies were followed. While IPRA conducts a thorough investigation, we will not wait to look for ways we can learn from this incident.
I've challenged my team to take a hard look at the training and tactics from this incident, including looking at national best practices on use of force to determine how we can best serve our officers so that they can best serve the people of the city.
You can expect this department to be open and honest about what we discover and we will work together with our community partners to implement solutions.
In order to work toward making a better department we must acknowledge the things we can do better and that work starts today.

Police officials have said the fatal shot was not recorded by any of the body cameras or dashboard cameras at the scene. The body camera of the officer who fatally shot O'Neal was not working at the time.

Johnson has said there is no evidence to suggest the officer turned off or tampered with the camera to prevent it from recording. The superintendent said there is other video footage of the incident, recorded by the other two officers' body cameras and dashboard cameras from squad cars at the scene.

O'Neal's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging police officers effectively "executed" him.

Green said he and other activists want a good relationship with the Police Department, but he said the culture at the department must change first, and officers must be trained better on use of force and community relations, and officers must be held accountable when they break the rules.

"There are good police officers that are on the force, but just as they want us to, they should be ranking out the evil in the Chicago Police Department, and then we can start establishing a relationship once they hold themselves accountable as well," he said. "They want us to be held accountable in our communities and break our code of silence. Well, we want that for the Chicago Police Department as well, and then we can start building that relationship like we should."

Johnson already has stripped three of the four officers involved in the incident of their powers, saying it appears they violated department policies when they opened fire. All three will remain on administrative duties – without their guns or badges – until both an Internal Affairs investigation and the IPRA probe have been completed.

IPRA has said it hopes to complete its investigation within 60 days.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.