Three police officers involved in the death of another unarmed black teen have been taken off the streets while the shooting is under review.
The three officers have been “relieved of their police powers” and have been put on desk duty while the the department determines whether or not they violated policy by shooting aimlessly into a stolen car as it drove away, killing 18-year-old Paul O’Neal.
via Chicago Tribune:
Three officers fired their weapons in the incident that left Paul O’Neal, 18, dead after police say he sideswiped a squad car and hit a parked car while driving a stolen Jaguar, injuring some officers about 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the 7400 block of South Merrill Avenue. Police officials announced Friday that two of the officers were relieved of their police powers, and the third was relieved of police powers on Saturday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
O’Neal died from a gunshot wound to the back, the Cook County medical examiner’s office determined following an autopsy Saturday. The shooting was classified by medical examiner as a homicide — meaning the killing of one person by another, rather than a shooting death in a suicide or accident.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson “spent most of (Friday) afternoon with top advisors and command staff reviewing the preliminary information from the incident. (Police) investigators determined 3 officers discharged their weapons in the course of their duties and given what is known thus far, it appears that departmental policies may have been violated by at least 2 of the police officers,” Guglielmi in an email Friday night. Those two officers had their police powers taken away Friday.
Johnson spent Saturday reviewing further information, including the autopsy information and video, and made a preliminary determination that the third officer also should be stripped, Guglielmi said Saturday.
All three officers are being relieved of their police powers and are being assigned to administrative duty, pending the outcome of investigations by the Independent Police Review Authority and a police internal review.
The officers involved initially were placed on administrative duties for 30 days per department policy. They now will be on administrative duty but not have their police powers and not return to regular duty unless they are cleared in the IPRA and internal investigations.
After the fatal shooting of Quintonio Legrier and Bettie Jones in December, the department started putting officers involved in shootings on the 30-day administrative leave.
It also was instituted after the Department of Justice announced it was launching a civil rights investigation into the department; that probe was prompted by the Chicago Police shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
The policy was not seen as necessarily punitive but rather a way to allow supervisors time to evaluate how officers were reacting to the shooting and whether they were ready to return to street duty. During the time period, officers were also expected to attend a class at the training academy and see a department counselor.
In this case, Johnson has taken the additional step of stripping two of the three officers of their police powers, which means they can’t carry their gun or badge. They will work in the department’s call-back center until the IPRA investigation is complete.
Back in 2015, the Chicago Police Department changed its rules on the use of deadly force, banning officers from shooting at moving vehicles if no other weapons were being used against them.
From the looks of this situation, those officers were clearly in violation of policy.