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Paul O’Neal’s Sister On Police Video: ‘Wanted To Know The Truth Myself'

By Ted Cox | August 5, 2016 4:05pm
"Paul had goals," said Paul O'Neal's sister Briana Adams, before she broke down and was comforted by attorney Michael Oppenheimer and family spokesman Ja'Mal Green.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

DOWNTOWN — Paul O'Neal's sister Briana Adams broke down as she spoke of his death Friday, following the release of video that shows parts of the Chicago Police shooting of the unarmed teen a week ago in South Shore.

"That is my first little brother," Adams began, speaking at a news conference at the office of family attorney Michael Oppenheimer. "I'm very hurt. Words can't describe how I feel at this moment and how I felt when it happened, but I really want everybody to know that Paul was loved by my mother, his family, me.

"He was everybody's best friend," she added. "He loved to keep smiles on everybody's face. Joking, playing basketball."

 Family spokesman Ja'Mal Green ushers Paul O'Neal's sister Briana Adams into Friday's news conference.
Family spokesman Ja'Mal Green ushers Paul O'Neal's sister Briana Adams into Friday's news conference.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

Adams said 18-year-old O'Neal had plans to attend a trade school and go to work for ComEd. "I want everybody to know that Paul had goals," she said, before she broke down in tears.

After recovering, Adams said when she and her mother, Tanisha Gibson, saw the available police video of the incident at the Independent Police Review Authority shortly before it was released to the public Friday morning: "The wind left our bodies right then and there. We was really hurt. It was disturbing. Very disturbing. Not the way anything's supposed to be done."

Adams added that they felt it essential to see the video "for the truth. I don't want anyone to lie in my face and try to show my brother's image. I wanted to know the truth myself."

"We just want answers," Adams said. "The truth. That's it. Nothing further. Just answers and the truth."

Acting as the family spokesman, activist Ja'Mal Green called the incident "heartbreaking" and cited how, among the video released Friday, there was none from the bodycam of the officer who shot O'Neal in the back.

"It's always 10 steps back for every one step forwards, and this is one of those times," Green said. "We asked for body cameras, and we got body cameras, but every time something like this happens there's always problems with these body cameras."

Oppenheimer said he would push for a special prosecutor in the case. "I saw enough of the video to know that I believe it was an execution," he added. "It is clear and the police have even announced ... that he was shot in the back, and everybody seems to agree that he was unarmed."

Oppenheimer filed a federal suit Monday against "unknown John Doe police officers" on behalf of the deceased O'Neal and his mother, Gibson. The suit charged excessive force, battery and wrongful death.

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