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Police shooting of 18-year-old may have violated policies, Chicago's top cop says

Three officers involved in the incident last Thursday where a suspect was fatally shot in the back have been relieved of their duties pending an investigation.
Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Chicago's police superintendent says video evidence from the fatal officer-involved shooting of an 18-year-old car theft suspect theft last week suggests three cops involved in the incident may have violated departmental policy.

Eddie Johnson, Chicago's top police official, spoke on Sunday for the first time about the death of Paul O'Neal at the hands of police.

"As it appears, right now, departmental policy may have been violated during the incident," Johnson said. He did not specify which department policies were possibly violated, but said the video footage left "more questions than answers."


The shooting occurred last Thursday at around 7pm after police responded to reports of a stolen Jaguar in Chicago's South Side. O'Neal was found driving the car, and officers reportedly opened fire after he sideswiped a patrol car and a parked vehicle. A resident of the neighborhood where the incident occurred told Chicago's ABC7 that six or seven gunshots were heard. O'Neal, who was unarmed, died of a gunshot wound to the back, police said.

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Three officers involved in the shooting have been relieved of their police duties. Johnson did not release information about the officers, who were all wearing bodycams at the time. Chicago's Police Review Authority is investigating.

"These officers have to make these decisions in a split second," Johnson said. "We have the luxury of going back and reviewing video."

The swift action to relieve the officers of their duties follows intense criticism of the Chicago Police Department's handling of previous shootings by cops, including the death of Laquan McDonald, which sparked mass protests in the city.

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