CHICAGO — Three Chicago Police officers were stripped of their police powers after top brass ruled they apparently broke department rules when they fired on two men in a stolen car, killing one of the suspects.
The move comes as Chicago Police face harsh criticism for past police-involved shootings, including the 16-shot slaying of teenager Laquan McDonald, a shooting caught on a squad car dash-cam camera that led to angry protests in the streets.
The latest police-involved shooting came Thursday evening when officers opened fire on a stolen Jaguar that side-swiped a squad car during a chase. At least three officers opened fire, leaving one man dead, police said.
Late Friday, the department said it was sidelining the officers because of apparently broken rules. The case is still being probed by the Independent Police Review Authority.
"While the chronology of events is complex and still under formal investigation by IPRA, the Superintendent spent most of this afternoon with top advisors and command staff reviewing the preliminary information from the incident," CPD said in a statement.
"CPD investigators determined 3 officers discharged their weapons in the course of their duties and given what is known thus far, it appears that departmental policies may have been violated by at least 2 of the police officers.
"As of now, the two officers have been relieved of their police powers and will be assigned to administrative positions within the agency pending the outcome of IPRA’s investigation and our continuing internal administrative review."
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, officers saw a Jaguar convertible that had been reported stolen from suburban Bolingbrook, police said. Officers tried to stop the car near 74th Street and Merrill Avenue, but the driver sideswiped a Chicago Police car and another car parked nearby, police said.
Officers fired shots, hitting Paull O'Neal, 18.
Officers followed him and he was eventually taken to a hospital and pronounced dead, police said.
O'Neal lived in the 1700 block of East 70th Street, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Another man in the car, who was arrested, was 17. He was not injured during the incident.
Several officers were hurt during the incident, police said, but their injuries were non-life-threatening.
O'Neal was a friend of Lamon Reccord, the activist wrote on Facebook.
"During the situation, he should've been detained/arrested, not experiencing death!" Reccord wrote. "Don't sit here and say, 'The police got a thug off the streets' because he is just like anyone else! He has a mind, heart and soul!"
Reccord organized a candlelight vigil for the man to be held 7:30 p.m. Friday in the 7300 block of South Merrill Street. Dozens of attendees lit candles and held posters, but a fight and argument toward the end broke up the event.
"Due to the fact of me losing my brother yesterday, the officers [have] now been relieved from law [enforcement], it is a start of equality justice," Reccord wrote on Facebook, also thanking people for their support. "I am dealing with [entirely] too much and I am at the point where I just don't know what to do. I need to leave Chicago for about a good week to clear my mind."
First Deputy Supt. John Escalante has ordered an internal investigation of the incident, and the Independent Police Review Authority will also investigate the police-involved shooting. The officers involved in the incident will be placed on leave for 30 days.
Officers who were involved were wearing body cameras, police said.
Just 40 minutes before the shooting in South Shore, police shot a man who they said had a gun and was running away after a robbery in Englewood.
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