Fighting For the People Six Feet Under

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Protesting more senseless death. Photo by Ashlee Rezin, Chicago Sun-Times

FYI, this is still happening: Chicago police have released video of their latest atrocity, wherein a swarm of panicked cops chased and wildly fired at a stolen vehicle before shooting in the back and killing its fleeing driver Paul O'Neal, who was black, 18 and unarmed. O’Neal was killed July 28 after allegedly crashing a stolen Jaguar into two officers and running away on foot. The video, including dash-cam and body-camera footage, was released by Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority. It shows a chaotic scene: Cursing officers randomly shooting at a distant car down the street where other cops stand, thus putting them in harm's way and violating policy; over 15 shots fired though officers said it was about five; cops lumbering after the suspect with guns drawn and no idea where he is. The cop who took the fatal shot is alternately belligerent and confused, handcuffing and shouting at the bleeding O'Neal already lying on the ground, “Get down! Hands behind your back! You shot at us, motherf–ker!” even as other cops suggest actually he didn't; the shooter cop worries, "Fuck, I’m going to be on desk duty now" and "I'm going to be fucking crucified, bro," while one of his brothers in blue reassures him, "Relax, he was in a hot car. Nothing to worry about." Because, duh, the punishment for stealing a car is death.

The nine video clips released also show one officer high-fiving another after O'Neal has gone down, and others warning, "Make sure this (body-camera) is off." Strangely, though police had newly received their body cameras, there is no video of the actual shooting, nor any explanation as to why. Asked about it, Mayor Rahm Emanuel conceded it was "a fair question," but insisted, "I don't want to jump to a conclusion." After the videos were released, the head of Chicago's police oversight agency called the footage "shocking and disturbing," and three officers were placed on paid administrative leave. To date, police officials have reportedly only said it showed "a succession of apparent  procedural errors." The O'Neal family's lawyer said they saw "Chicago police officers execute Paul O’Neal." From O'Neal's weeping sister Briana Adams, "Paul had goals...We just want answers." So do many protesters, who have taken to the streets the last few days. They also want change - from better training to police accountability - to a broken, racist, murderous system in the name of all who came before. Warning: While the video does not include the shooting itself, it is disturbing.

“We are here today fighting for the people, six feet under, whose death ignited a nation,” said Ashanti Lumpkin, a local teenager. “We are here today to fight so the next generation won’t have to. We are here today to let them know that we will not go away. We will not be silenced. And we will keep fighting until justice is won."


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