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Rahm Says He Supports Suspension Of Officers In O'Neal Shooting

By Stephen Gossett in News on Aug 8, 2016 6:24PM

Rahm Emanuel / Getty Images / Photo: Chip Somodevilla

Mayor Rahm Emanuel had been curiously mum about the fatal police-involved shooting of Paul O’Neal and the subsequent video dump released on Friday by Chicago’s police oversight agency that captured events before and after the shooting. He finally (albeit briefly) broke his silence on Monday morning when he told reporters he supports Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson’s decision to suspend police powers of three involved officers. At the same time. He refused to go much further, saying he’s “reserving any judgment” while the investigation continues “because there’s a lot of questions,” according to reports from the Sun Times and the Tribune.

“There’s a loss of life and it’s a tragedy," he said after speaking at an economic conference on Monday. “And I don’t want to make any further judgment until (the Independent Police Review Authority) are concluded with their investigation.”

Emanuel also equivocated after reportedly being pressed about the operational failure of the body camera that was worn by the officer who fired the fatal shot.

"It's a fair question," he said, according to the Tribune. But, Emanuel said he will withhold judgement until Johnson and IPRA finish reviewing the shooting.

O’Neal was shot in the back by police after he fled the scene of a crash in which his allegedly stolen Jaguar was rammed and sideswiped police vehicles. The 18-year-old was unarmed. Graphic video captured by dashcams and body cams were released by the Independent Police Review Authority were released on Friday. They showed highly controversial police reactions, including one officers blithely commenting, “Fuck man, I’m going to be on a desk for 30 day.”

Activists galvanized on Sunday evening to protest the O’Neal shooting, plus police brutality and “systemic oppression” in general. Hundreds joined the march, which proceeded around the Loop and through downtown. (Chicagoist photographer Tyler LaRiviere documented the protest.) During portions of the march, activists called for Emanuel’s resignation.

Chicagoist has reached out to the mayor's office for further comment and will update this post as necessary.