BRONZEVILLE — Activists are seeking the dash cam and body cam footage showing the controversial, police-involved fatal shooting of 18-year-old Paul O'Neal that has already led to three officers being stripped of their police powers.
O'Neal was shot at by officers after a stolen car he was allegedly driving sideswiped a police squad car in South Shore on Thursday. Three officers fired shots at the fleeing O'Neal, who was fatally struck, according to police and activist accounts of the incident.
Supt. Eddie Johnson already stripped the three officers of their police powers, saying that the incident was troubling and had given him more questions than answers after his preliminary review of the shooting.
While activists and advocates for O'Neal's family lauded Johnson for his swift action, they said more needed to be done to restore trust between the community and its police force.
William Calloway, a South Shore activist, said Monday that the community has a right to see footage of O'Neal's fatal shooting. He said the family deserves to know what happened to their child.
"My community has been extremely tense following the shooting," said Calloway, a native of South Shore where the shooting took place. "It devastated them. Police do not have the right to be judge, jury and executioner."
Calloway has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the police department that seeks to see all footage related to the shooting. The Independent Police Review Authority, the body investigating the police shooting, typically keeps video of incidents private for 60 days while they investigate, Calloway said.
But he said that timeline is not appropriate for this shooting, especially when officers have already been disciplined for their actions.
"60 days is far too long for closure," Calloway said. "If we had a civilian shooting and we had video it would be plastered all over. It should be no different [for police]."
Calloway said police never recovered a gun from the stolen Jaguar that O'Neal was driving, and he said an autopsy report reviewed by activists shows O'Neal was fatally struck in the back while fleeing police.
He said those facts, coupled with the action Johnson took against the three officers, means that criminal charges should be considered.
Calloway said the only way for the public to know if criminal charges are warranted is if they see the video. He said public video of officers, including the infamous clip of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times, have directly led to charges, and could in this case as well.
"He did not pose a threat," Calloway said of O'Neal. "We will not rest until criminal charges are brought."
A police spokesman did not immediate respond to a request for comment on the matter.
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