Paul O’Neal Shooting in Chicago: So Much for Body Cams and We Need to Stop These Dangerous Chases After Stolen Cars

by Scott Creighton

When they were pushing for hundreds of millions of dollars for police body-cams in order to make policing more “transparent” I wrote that they would NEVER aid a suspect in an investigation, only law enforcement. I remember writing over a year ago that the videos would ALWAYS turn up “missing” when they didn’t serve the interest of the police department while they would ALWAYS be available if they presented the officers in a good light.

With the recent release of videos involving the shooting death of Paul O’Neal in Chicago last Thursday, my hypothesis proved accurate.

What they released was some body-cam footage of officers firing into a car, supposedly reported stolen, being driven by 18-year-old Paul O’Neal as he drove past a road-block set up in a residential area of Chicago. They released that footage because technically they could claim O’Neal was threatening the lives of the officers by driving past the road block. The car he was driving brushed past two marked cruisers and came pretty close to officers who had gotten out of those vehicles. He didn’t appear to target the officers but rather seemed to be trying to get away. Oddly enough, the only time an officer was in real danger was when one officer was firing at O’Neal in the Jag and another officer was standing on the other side of the car. That cop could easily have been hit by the first.

As you can see, that video was released because they knew they could spin it and tell the public Paul was a danger to officers and that’s why he was shot. Unfortunately for the PR department in the police department, O’Neal died of multiple gunshot wounds to the back… so that body-cam footage had to go bye-bye.

Oh. Did I mention Paul was unarmed and fleeing on foot at the time he was shot.. IN THE FUCKING BACK?

Yeah, there is that.

We have to stop cops from chasing after stolen cars.

I understand that insurance companies run the justice departments of most states these days. I get that. They tell DMVs to suspend people’s driver’s licenses for being caught with weed in cities where it’s only a citation so they can jack-up the premiums of those people when they get their licenses back for several years and charge HUUUGE prices for insurance if they are granted a hardship license to drive back and forth to work. I get that. I also understand that it’s cheaper for insurance companies to repair damage to a vehicle than it is for them to replace an entire Jaguar. I get that as well.

But this isn’t the old west anymore. We don’t need a posse to chase after a horse thief and string him up on the side of the road when they catch him.

I understand that cops don’t get to chase people that much anymore. There are no more bank robbers and they usually don’t race around corners with lights blaring when going after white collar criminals or some drug addict they catch buying some weed someplace. Yeah, high speed chases are exciting for officers. Gets em all pumped up when they can finally pile onto an already subdued suspect and dig their knees into his kidneys two or three times. I get that.

But chasing a stupid kid with a stolen car is asinine. I’m sorry for you cop apologists out there, but it is.

Who the f*ck cares if someone steals a car? If they can’t turn the thing off with an On Star type system, let the damn thing go. The parents of the dead kid they run into during that useless car chase will thank you later. And if that cop standing there next to the stolen car had been shot by his partner, I’m sure his family would have thanked you as well.

We don’t let security guards at Walmart shoot you in the face for stealing a loaf of bread, do we? We don’t let him open up with an AK-47 spraying the entire shoe department because someone has a DVD in their pocket. Why let cops endanger so many lives because someone stole a stupid car? It’s ridiculous.

It’s a stolen car not a kidnapped child, not a convicted rapist, not a suspected terrorist. It’s a PROPERTY CRIME and as such, not worth a SINGLE F*CKING LIFE. It wasn’t worth shooting that dumb kid in the back. It wasn’t worth possibly shooting that officer standing there on the other side of the car. And it wasn’t worth firing all those damn rounds in that residential neighborhood any one of which could have inadvertently struck some playing child in the face.

It’s almost as if the police departments of these major cities regard potential collateral damage the same way President Bush used to or President Obama does now. And that is very troubling.

Tell the damn insurance companies to pay for the damn stolen car and when it turns up, they can have it back. This is the information age after all. You can’t go ten feet outside you house without someone somewhere snapping a picture of your vehicle while they chase a stupid Pokemon character down the street.

To the point of the “missing” body-cam footage, I say this: the minute a cop turns up saying “oops. Sorry. The footage is missing” he’s fired. It’s that simple. Not only is he fired, but so is his supervisor. You do that and I promise this videos will miraculously stop going “missing”

Now I know there have been a number of staged incidents over the past couple of years but there have also been some real ones. With regard to that, my guess is on this one, is that is it legit. Part of what makes be believe that is the fact that the most incriminating footage is now “missing”

The other part is that crash at the end of the car chase and the derogatory things said about the young kid as he lay there dying from being SHOT IN THE FUCKING BACK ( a cop is heard on one of the video cams that did work calling Paul a “bitch-ass motherfucker” as he lay there dying). If they script something, they aren’t going to do it like that.

That officer needs to be fired and then arrested. Shooting unarmed kids in the back used to be a crime in this country, even if they were black, believe it or not. And I think it still is on the books in some police departments. Chicago under Rahm Emanuel? Probably not, but it should be.

Cops need to be able to chase suspects, I understand that. But not for stupid property crimes. Not chasing after a car so some insurance company doesn’t have to pay up. That’s retarded. I’m sorry but it is. Maybe if police departments start rethinking the concept of collateral damage a little more clearly they will start to put a different value on the lives of not just innocent by-standers but also on the unarmed 18-year-old kids they shoot in the back and the cops standing on the other side of the fleeing car. Because right now as it stands it looks to me like they put a higher value on that stupid car than they did all the other folks I just mentioned and that tells me they have their priorities in the wrong place. Totally wrong. And the way to fix this problem is not by throwing tons of tax-payer dollars at a company making body-cams in Thailand or China somewhere. We see how well that works out, right?

The way to fix this problem is to stop chasing car thieves around like it’s the OK Corral (or like they are a run-away slave????). This shit has to end. Try to pull them over and if they take off and you can’t turn the thing off remotely, just let it go. It isn’t worth it. To the insurance company it is but not to anyone else involved and screw them, that’s why they make the big bucks. Let the State Farm salesman chase the guy if it’s that important to them. I tell you right now, if their own employees had to race around the city blowing through stop-lights for a stolen Honda, car chases for stolen cars would be over tomorrow. They aren’t paying for those hospital costs I promise you. They understand cost/benefit ratios even if our police departments don’t.

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