By Don Babwin
CHICAGO — An 18-year-old suspect who was shot by Chicago police died from a gunshot wound to the back, according to autopsy results released last Saturday.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the death of Paul O’Neal of Chicago was a homicide. The shooting occurred last Thursday night during a stolen vehicle investigation in the city’s South Shore neighborhood.
Authorities have said officers stopped a Jaguar convertible that had been reported stolen. Police said officers opened fire after the driver, identified as O’Neal, put the car in drive and sideswiped a squad car and a parked vehicle.
O’Neal was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson relieved two officers of their police powers following the shooting last Friday. Investigators are still reviewing the actions of a third officer involved, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Although the incident remains under investigation, “it appears that departmental policies may have been violated by at least 2 of the police officers,” Guglielmi said in a statement.
Police declined further comment last Saturday.
O’Neal was black; police have not provided any identifying information about the officers who were involved.
The handling of officer-involved shootings in Chicago has come under intense scrutiny since the release last November of a video that shows a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. That shooting, and the initial statements by a union spokesman about McDonald lunging at police that turned out to contradict what was on the video, raised serious questions about what the public was being told about police shootings.
Investigators from Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police misconduct cases and officer-involved shootings, arrived at the scene Thursday and obtained footage from cameras that the officers were wearing or were mounted on their squad cars. IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said the footage would be posted online within 60 days, per city policy.