Cops and Body Cams.

Screen shot of video footage of Chicago police shooting of 18-year-old Paul O'Neal | Video provided by IPRA.

Screen shot of video footage of Chicago police shooting of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal | Video provided by IPRA.

Video footage released Friday by the Independent Police Review Authority doesn’t show the gunshot that killed 18-year-old Paul O’Neal eight days ago, but it does give a cop’s-eye view of the chaotic moments that led up to his death — and the dying teen being handcuffed in a growing pool of blood.
IPRA head Sharon Fairley described it as “shocking and disturbing” in a Friday morning press release, and the lawyer representing O’Neal’s family against the city called the images “beyond horrific.”


On the video, gunshots can be heard from behind the closed gate. After one officer helps another to scale the gate, the pair circle around to a neighboring house in the 7400 block of South Merrill Avenue and sprint to the backyard, where three officers already have a bleeding O’Neal pinned to the ground. The officer who shot O’Neal did not activate his camera before joining the chase, and IPRA has said there is no other camera angle that shows the fatal shot.

“You f—-ing shoot at us?” one officer asks the prone O’Neal as he is handcuffed. Another, searching the teen’s backpack, asks: “Have you got anything on you?”

O’Neal does not appear to respond before the camera turns away. He would die of his wounds during surgery.

Emphasis mine. It’s obvious cops can’t be trusted with body cams as they are.

Police have said O’Neal was unarmed.

Later, in footage recorded from a camera worn by a sergeant who responded to the scene, the senior officer instructs officers to shut off their body cameras, and warns one officer — apparently one who fired shots during the melee — not to talk about what happened in front of officers who are wearing their cameras.

“Here’s the thing,” the sergeant says. “Any statements you’re making in front of peoples camera and stuff like that are just killing you.”

In all, IPRA released video from nine cameras, but is reviewing footage from multiple other cameras. In her statement, Fairley said the investigation is “still very much in the early stages,” but investigators had determined that releasing the videos would not compromise their investigation.

Emphasis mine. Can we just get rid of the evil stormtroopers now? “Killing them”. No, sarge, it’s you killing all those brown people. In spite of this incredibly damning statement, FoP has rushed right in to tell people not to ‘rush to judgment’. I think I’m fine on the judgment front, it’s quite clear to me who needs to be condemned, in the harshest terms.

Dean Angelo, president of Chicago Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, issued a statement cautioning against a rush to judgment.

“While there are multiple aspects to consider pertaining to the released videos, it is important to be mindful of how rapidly this event unfolded. Due to the fact that this chaotic incident occurred in a matter of moments, each individual perspective needs to be taken into consideration,” Angelo said.

Except for the perspective of Paul O’Neal, who can’t provide his, being murdered by cops.

After watching video with O’Neal’s mother and sister Friday morning just hours before the video was released, the family’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, said the recording of officers as their adrenaline subsides was equally disturbing: one officer remarks that the shooting likely means he will face a 30-day suspension.

Fuck the cop’s perspective. I don’t care about their perspective on anything.

Full story at the Chicago Sun Times.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    30-day suspension? This should be a criminal case, not one month’s pay as blood money to the police department.

  2. says

    Apparently, for that one cop, a 30 day suspension is what a person’s life is valued at. I can’t even begin to express my disgust.

  3. rq says

    This is not how bodycams are supposed to work. I’m all for them, but obviously they can’t be the be-all, end-all, exactly for these reasons of abuse. I don’t think stormtroopers should have the ability to turn them on themselves; there should be some remote mechanism for that (but an automatic one based on movement or something like that -- like, once your gun or taser leave their holsters, your bodycam goes on and doesn’t turn off until you’re back at the station).
    And I just loooooooovvvve *puke* the suggestive questions: “Why’d you shoot at us? Why are you resisting?” All for the theatre.
    Fuck. Multiple aspects to consider.
    No, no there really aren’t.

  4. Kengi says


    the suggestive questions: “Why’d you shoot at us? Why are you resisting?”

    That’s part of their training. As you said, it’s theater. To influence any potential witnesses.

    The union rep must be relieved it wasn’t a small furry animal that was killed instead of a black person.

  5. says

    like, once your gun or taser leave their holsters, your bodycam goes on and doesn’t turn off until you’re back at the station

    The Axon (If it’s a taser unit) keeps different levels of recording, constantly. When the gun is out of the holster it begins keeping 360 video and audio. It’s always keeping timestamps and GPS data. I was a consultant to Taser on the communications between the Axon and the base unit, FWIW. There’s a mode that allows the cameras to be turned off, and (of course) it logs everything around the time when the camera goes dark. I actually suggested that turning the camera off kept the microphones working (have I mentioned I hate cops?) and that was nixed real quick and everyone looked at me funny.

  6. says

    Marcus @ 7:

    PS – the guns shouldn’t work if the camera’s off. Imagine the shitfit that’d cause when cops heard about THAT.

    Let them shit themselves, that sounds like a damn good idea to me.

  7. says

    Cops are actively circumventing the measures that are supposed to keep them honest and their superiors are advising them on how to do it. It’s like they can’t even be bothered to pretend like they’re the good guys anymore.

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    As for the dangerous jobs in USA, patrolling cops were #15 in 2014.

    From the list, a logger’s job is almost 10 times as dangerous as a cop’s. Most of the jobs in the top 20 list are absolutely necessary to keep up the infrastructure of the society (roofers, garbage truck drivers, farmers, electric power line installers and repairers and so on).

  9. Rob says

    Isn’t it obvious that cams should be on as the default state from the moment they come off the charger to the moment they are plugged in to download? I mean, people would stare at you as if you were incompetent if you suggested that civilians should be fitted with bodycams that they should/would turn on if they were about to do something of questionable legality or ethics.

  10. chigau (違う) says

    Bodycams are getting smaller, cheaper and more available.
    If the cops won’t use them correctly, the rest of us will.
    every other person already had a cellphone

  11. DanDare says

    An extra cam on the gun itself feeding in to the body cam would be good. Body cams can look away.

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