Paul O’Neal
CBS Chicago screenshot

The family of Paul O'Neal, the 18-year-old who was shot in the back and killed by police last week, is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit, an attorney for the family announced Monday, CBS Chicago reports.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims that officers effectively "executed" O'Neal, who was a suspect in a car theft.


"Paul O'Neal's constitutional rights were violated," attorney Michael Oppenheimer told reporters. “These police officers decided, for whatever reason, they were going to play judge, jury and executioner.”

The lawsuit comes amid reports that the body camera of the officer behind the fatal shooting was not working at the time he opened fire, the Chicago Tribune notes.


According to the report, the Chicago Police Department is investigating why the body camera did not record as it was supposed to.

The officer in question, as well as two others involved, had received the equipment only just recently, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Tribune.


The three officers have since been stripped of their police powers after a preliminary determination established that they had violated department policy, the Tribune notes. All three, however, have been assigned to paid administrative duties.

O'Neal was shot around 7:30 p.m. Thursday after police say he crashed a Jaguar that had been reported stolen into two Chicago police vehicles before fleeing the scene.


Two officers fired shots at O'Neal while he was still in the vehicle. After O'Neal started to flee on foot, a third officer chased him down, ultimately firing the fatal shot. O'Neal, who was unarmed, was hit in the back.

Authorities have managed to recover footage from the body cameras of the other officers and from dashboard cameras, according to the Tribune. However, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson confirmed that the fatal encounter was not recorded on that officer's body camera.


Read more at CBS Chicago and the Chicago Tribune

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