Paul O’Neal, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Chicago police last month after crashing the car he was driving into a squad car and fleeing on foot. Video released by the Chicago Police Department Friday shows the officers pursuing O’Neal, who was suspected of stealing the 2002 Jaguar he crashed into the police cars, with their guns out pursuing him into a backyard, where he was shot.
O’Neal was unarmed at the time. The bullets reportedly entered his back. A video of the shooting itself was not made available because Chicago officials said that the body cameras worn by the officers were either shut off, had fallen off or wasn’t working.
O’Neal’s family was shown the videos before they were released to the public. Speaking to the press after reviewing a reported 45 minutes worth of video, the family’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, said, “We just came from watching an execution.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson praised the release of the videos, which he said showed a commitment to transparency on the part of the Chicago Police Department. He promised that, under his watch, officers would be held accountable for what they do out in the field.
“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,” Johnson wrote in a statement. “The shooting of Mr. O’Neal has raised a lot of questions about whether departmental policies were followed.”
O’Neal’s death comes amid an ongoing national conversation about police brutality that frequently targets black Americans. The conversation, embodied in the Black Lives Matter movement that has grown as a result of repeated videos showing black men getting shot by police officers, has become a focal point of the 2016 presidential election.