NEWS BRIEF The unarmed black teenager who officers chased into a backyard in Chicago* last month and fatally shot as he ran away was struck by a bullet in the back, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The report, obtained Wednesday by the Chicago Tribune, found that Paul O’Neal, 18, died of a single gunshot to the right side of his back. Footage released earlier this month captured O’Neal running from police and bleeding from his back as officers reached him and handcuffed him. Sharon Fairley, the head of Chicago’s police oversight agency, called the shooting “shocking and disturbing” the day police released the videos.
On July 28, officers gave chase to O’Neal because he was driving what police said was a stolen car. In the footage, O’Neal side-swipes a police cruiser, and two officers shoot into the car as he drives past. That action could be found to violate Chicago police policy, because firing into a moving vehicle—if that vehicle is the only weapon that poses a threat to officers—is not allowed by the department. O’Neal eventually crashed to a stop down the street and ran from the car into a backyard.
The incident was captured by nine body and dashboard cameras, and the department released the footage a week later. The release signaled a significant change for Chicago police, the force that once spent nearly a year trying to block the release of footage of the death of Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old police shot 16 times before he died in October 2014. After the legal struggle, the department promised to release future footage within 60 days of a shooting. The department delivered in O’Neal’s case, but footage from the camera worn by the officer who shot O’Neal is missing; police said the device was either turned off or had malfunctioned.