Sunday, August 07, 2016

Paul O'Neal was an unarmed man

Paul O'Neal is a difficult hero to embrace. He's been implicated in the theft of more than 30 cars out in Bolingbrook and Naperville. On the last day of his life, he was caught on video pumping gas, paid for with a stolen credit card, into a stolen vehicle.

But even more disturbing, he was shot in the back by the Chicago police. The bodycam video shows officers going through the dying kid's backpack and finding no weapon.

The Chicago police shot an unarmed kid in the back.

The body- and dashcams are all over the internet. If you're interested in this case -- or in big city policing in general -- you should view them.

This is how the case appears to unfold to me. O'Neal was reported driving a stolen Jaguar. Two different squad cars begin pursuit and he's caught between them. Someone -- I believe it's an officer in the police car behind O'Neal -- begins shooting at the car. This is in violation of department policy.

The police in the other car apparently believe O'Neal is firing at them. O'Neal crashes the car, jumps out, and runs. He leaps over a fence into a backyard. Police chase after him on foot.

We can't see the actual shooting -- the cop who actually fired is the one whose body cam isn't working -- but we can hear it. Six shots. Into the back of an unarmed kid.

The Chicago police shot an unarmed kid in the back.

This breaks my heart. I like cops. When I see them, I'm always grateful. I've never been treated with anything but respect.

But what I saw on the videos is just wrong. Police firing live ammunition into a stolen car? That Jag belonged to someone completely innocent in this saga. And what about the welfare of the residents? What if O'Neal had crashed the car into an innocent bystander? What if a bullet caromed off the car and hit someone?

Also, by firing when he wasn't supposed to, that first cop set up the false assumption that O'Neal was armed.

I don't, however, think this racially motivated. However, the motivation doesn't really matter, does it? Stealing a Jag and a credit card isn't punishable by death. And even if it was, O'Neal is entitled to a trial he didn't get.

I do, however, think this is the last thing my city needed during this long, hot summer of violence.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this on the news. It breaks my heart.


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