Shooting of Paul O'Neal

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Shooting of Paul O'Neal
DateJuly 28, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-07-28)
Time7:23 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.
Location7400 block of South Merrill Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Filmed byPolice body and dash cameras
ParticipantsChicago Police officers (unnamed)
OutcomeNo criminal charges brought
DeathsPaul O'Neal

The shooting of Paul O'Neal occurred on July 28, 2016, when he was shot in the back by Chicago Police Department officers following a grand theft auto chase.[1] O'Neal, 18, struck two police cars, a parked car, while operating a stolen Jaguar. Police say that O'Neal, who was unarmed, fled from the vehicle after the chase and refused to stop.[2] The shooting was classified by the medical examiner as a homicide. The three officers who discharged their weapons were removed from duty following a preliminary investigation. Following an investigation, no criminal charges were brought against the officers involved.[3]

The LA Times notes Chicago's use-of-force policy specifically prohibits police from shooting into a car when the vehicle represents the only danger.[4] However, this policy is not absolute and expressly applies "unless such force is reasonably necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or to another person."[5] In March 2020, two officers were fired for breaking Chicago Police Department internal regulations for firing at O'Neal's vehicle on a residential street.[6] This did not include the Officer Jose Diaz who fired the fatal shots, who was ruled to have a justified belief that O'Neal was armed and had fired at the officer. These shots in fact came from the two, subsequently terminated, officers who shot at O'Neal's vehicle.

Chicago police released vehicle and body-worn camera video of the shooting on August 5, 2016.[2] Prior to the release, the agency warned that civil unrest could follow.[7]


At 7:23 p.m., Chicago police officers attempted to stop O'Neal in the South Shore neighborhood as he drove a Jaguar convertible reported stolen in Bolingbrook. O'Neal struck two Chicago police vehicles while in the car, and two officers fired at him while he was inside the car. O'Neal fled from the Jaguar, and a third officer chased him behind a home and fatally shot him. O'Neal died from a single gunshot wound to the back.[8] About fifteen shots were fired in total by the three officers.[9]


  1. ^ "3rd cop loses police powers; autopsy shows man shot in South Shore died from a gunshot wound". Chicago Tribune. July 30, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Video from cop shooting of teenager 'horrific,' family lawyer says". Chicago Tribune. August 5, 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  3. ^ "Paul O'Neal Shooting: No Charges For Chicago Cops In 2016 Case". Patch. January 19, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  4. ^ Hinkel, Dan (August 5, 2016). "Video from cop shooting shows Chicago police firing at fleeing car in neighborhood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
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  7. ^ Sanchez, Ray; Prokupecz, Shimon (August 5, 2016). "Chicago police warn of 'civil unrest' ahead of video release". CNN. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  8. ^ Lee, William (17 August 2016). "Paul O'Neal fatally shot by police in back: autopsy". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Videos of deadly cop shooting show procedural errors, confusion over shots". Chicago Tribune. August 8, 2016.