Saturday, August 06, 2016

Chicago officials release bodycam footage of cops handcuffing unarmed teen and 'leaving him to die' after shooting him in the back - but crucial video of the killing is suspiciously missing

The missing video must lead to very adverse inferences about the police involved.  Not much doubt that they shot him to prevent his escape -- which may be beneficial but is outside present law

Disturbing footage was released Friday showing Chicago police 'executing' an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager last week during a car theft investigation.

Paul O'Neal, 18, was shot in the back by police on July 28 during a stolen vehicle investigation on Chicago's South Shore, as he ran away from the responding officers.

Body camera and dash camera videos released from four officers involved in the shooting show that O'Neal was placed in handcuffs after he was shot and 'left to die', his family said Friday. The footage has been described as 'sickening, shocking and disturbing'.

After watching the footage, the O'Neal family described what happened as 'an execution' and 'cold-blooded murder'.

None of the officers are seen rendering any aid to O'Neal as he lay bleeding.

Additionally, crucial coverage of the actual shooting was not included in the multiple videos released, with officials saying the lone body camera that captured the killing was not turned on at the time.

'We just watched a family watch the execution of their loving son. It is one of the most horrific things I have seen,' Michael Oppenheimer, the family's lawyer, said at a press conference after seeing the footage. Oppenheimer continued: 'These police officers decided to play judge, jury and executioner.'

The graphic, albeit incomplete, footage - released by Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority - may cause violence against law enforcement across the US, Chicago police have warned.

The release of the videos marks the first time the city have made public such material in a fatal police shooting under a new policy that calls for it to do so within 60 days.

Three of the officers involved in the shooting were relieved of their police powers after O'Neal's death was ruled a homicide. He officially died of a gunshot wound to the back.

Officers relieved of police powers must turn in their badges and cannot make arrests. The officers that appear in the video appear to be all white men, with one Hispanic.

The videos do not show the moment O'Neal was shot. Oppenheimer described police not releasing footage of the actual shooting as 'a cover up'.

Police said on Monday that the body camera that should have captured the shooting was 'not working' at the time.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said an investigation is underway to determine why the equipment did not capture the killing of O'Neal.

The officers in question received their body cams '8-10 days' prior, Guglielmi said. 'We don't believe there was any intentional misconduct with body cameras,' he said.

However, in one of the videos, an officer is heard saying to three other officers about their body cameras: 'Make sure these are all off now.'

O'Neal, from Chicago, was shot last Thursday night during a stolen vehicle investigation in the city's South Shore neighborhood.

Authorities have said officers stopped a Jaguar convertible that had been reported stolen at the corner of 73rd Street and South Merrill Avenue.

The video shows officers opening fire after the driver, identified as O'Neal, put the car in drive and sideswiped a squad car and a parked vehicle.

At least two officers are seen shooting at the car as it flees down the suburban street. The Jaguar then crashes and the driver - believed to be O'Neal - is seen fleeing the vehicle, running into a nearby yard.

He is chased on foot by a group of officers, with one jumping a side fence. While the shooting of O'Neal is not seen, the fatal shots can be heard in the video.

The officer with the body camera is then seen finding a group of three officers behind a house standing around O'Neal, who is lying face down and bleeding from a back wound.

The officer with the camera then puts his knee on O'Neal and handcuffs him, calling him a 'bitch-ass motherf-----'. O'Neal appears to be alive as he is handcuffed.

The officer then walks away. The footage does not show any of the cops surrounding O'Neal attempting to render aid.

Attention is then paid to another officer, who is under the impression he was shot and complaining of pains in his legs and arms. However, after checking his injuries, the group conclude that he wasn't, but has minor injuries.

The group can also be heard discussing what happened during the chase, and appear to believe that O'Neal had first opened fire at them. 'They shot at us, too, right?' one is heard saying.  Another office adds: 'They almost hit my partner so I f---ing shot at them.'

There is no evidence to suggest police were shot at, and O'Neal was not armed.

The officer with the camera is then seen shaking hands with a colleague, who said he was 'right behind' during the foot chase.

At one point, the officer who fired shots at the vehicle can be heard complaining about going on a mandatory 30-day suspension. 'Fucking desk duty for 30 days now. Motherf-----,' he can be heard saying.

A local community activist, Jedidiah Brown, said that the video appears to show the officers 'stomping' on O'Neal's body after he was shot, CBS reported.

'I saw a police officer approach a lifeless O'Neal, face down to the ground, with three or four other officers over his body, screaming at him to put his hands behind his back, run up, stomp him in his back, and then grab his hands very violently, and put him in handcuffs, clearly lifeless,' he said.

The president of the Chicago police officer's union lamented the release of video evidence, saying that it is unfair to the officers, could turn public opinion against them and even jeopardize their own safety. 'These guys live in the neighborhoods, their kids go to school, and their photos will be all over the Internet,' he said.

'It doesn't mean they did anything wrong but someone may see it and perceive the officers should not have taken the actions they did.'

The policy of releasing the footage is part of an effort to restore public confidence in the department after video released last year showing a black teenager Laquan McDonald.

McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a white officer, sparked protests and led to the ouster of the former police superintendent.

The shooting of Laquan McDonald, and the initial statements by a union spokesman about McDonald lunging at police that turned out to contradict what was on the video, raised serious questions about what the public was being told about police shootings.

Investigators from Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police misconduct cases and officer-involved shootings, arrived at the scene and obtained footage from cameras that the officers were wearing or were mounted on their squad cars.

Original report here

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