NEWS BRIEF A Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black man in the back last week was wearing a body camera during the shooting, but the camera was turned off at the time, officials with the city’s police department said Monday.
The incident has started a controversy over the effectiveness of body cameras, which can be controlled by the officers wearing them. The officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Paul O’Neal has been placed on paid administrative leave, along with two other officers involved in the shooting. A lawyer representing O’Neal’s family said they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
O’Neal was killed July 28 in Chicago’s South Side. He was driving a Jaguar that was reported stolen. Officers began to chase after him, and O’Neal crashed into a police cruiser. As O’Neal ran away, officers shot him in the back.
The camera worn by one officer reportedly captured the beginning of the chase, but cut out before the fatal shot. The Chicago Police Department began testing body cameras in 2015, but only in one district. It recently expanded the technology to six other districts, and, according to the Chicago Tribune, the officer involved in the shooting had only used the camera for one month. The head of the police union that represents officers in the department blamed the camera’s dysfunction on a “learning curve.” But the family’s lawyers called the missing footage a coverup.