Paul O’Neal’s death revealed a “shocking and disturbing” realization to Chicago police’s oversight board. Yet, Cody Gallamore actually shot at officers. He’s alive and well.
What’s the difference?
Why was 18-year-old Paul O’Neal shot in the back by officers who claimed he had a gun, when it was verified that he didn’t?
All the while, 27-year-old Cody Gallamore — who actively made multiple shots at police officers during an on-foot pursuit — wasn’t shot or killed, but only apprehended and arrested.
This, America, is what the phrase “white privilege” means.
Allow this complete elaboration before you become heated or dismissive.
As you can see from Paul O’Neal’s video, Chicago police officers fired multiple shots into the vehicle, causing the teen to crash. However, upon impact, O’Neal ran and no shots were fired at police officers.
In the body camera videos, you can see the passenger officer gearing up to shoot Paul O’Neal before the teen ever passed the patrol car. His pistol was drawn and ready long before they stopped the vehicle.
Warning: The following videos contain graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised.
Rather than pursuing O’Neal via vehicular police chase, as they’re trained to do, their first response was to fire multiple shots into the vehicle.
Concerning police pursuits, that’s totally against protocol, as documented by the Illinois Law Enforcement and Standards Board.
In the next angle — via the lead officer — you can see Paul O’Neal bleeding out while cuffed face-down, all while Chicago police officers seemingly lacked concern.
According to CNN, police officers claimed O’Neal had a gun and had fired at them.
“Get down! Hands behind your back! You shot at us, motherf**ker!” you could hear one Chicago policeman exclaim.
It’s clear, in the videos, that neither of these officers had been fired upon. Yet, they certainly emptied their clips at Paul O’Neal.
And that’s no exaggeration. In the video, as the officer runs to the other side of the building — after failing to climb the fence — he reloads his weapon.
It seems that Paul O’Neal suffered a negligent shooting in the same manner as Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) released the Paul O’Neal video to the public. CNN reports that the board’s head, Sharon Fairley, describes it as “shocking and disturbing.”
When O’Neal’s family witnessed the video, they could only stay in the room a few seconds. After seeing the manner in which Chicago police readily shot at Paul, they had to leave the viewing room.
Meanwhile, in Springfield, Cody Gallamore led police on a similar chase. However, Gallamore actually fired multiple shots at the pursuing officers, reports Springfield News-Leader.
Cody was charged with the following list of offenses:
- assault on law enforcement
- armed criminal action
- resisting arrest
- tampering with a motor vehicle
- and two counts of burglary.
All of those offenses, yet, he’s still alive and safely apprehended.
Whereas Paul O’Neal was suspected of stealing a car. There was no “charge.” There was no “judge and jury.”
There was only a death sentence.
In Illinois, grand theft auto is classified under general “theft,” according to the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Depending on the vehicle’s price, Paul O’Neal could’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Do you think the allegedly stolen car looked like Jaguar’s recent models and deemed O’Neal worthy of a Class 1 or Class X felony?
If Paul O’Neal had stolen the car, police were right to pursue him.
However, as you can see from the video, there was a total disregard for safe apprehension.
These police officers not only ignored protocol and training, but they also tossed public safety by the wayside — firing multiple shots toward a swerving car at a distance.
Then, they caused Paul O’Neal to crash into another parked vehicle.
According to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board’s police pursuit guidelines, it states as follows.
“The overriding responsibility of police agencies in the State of Illinois is to protect human life and property. When the risks to human life and/or property begin to outweigh the benefits of capture, officers should refrain or disengage from pursuits.”
Not these officers, right?
“The threat of injury, death, and property damage is borne by innocent bystanders, the peace officers involved in the pursuit, the fleeing driver and the occupants of the escaping vehicle,” the source continues. “Therefore, it is the responsibility of agencies to establish pursuit guidelines designed to best protect human life and property and to provide peace officers guidance and training in the safe operation of police vehicles involved in pursuits.”
What’s “shocking and disturbing” are the “fives” they’re giving each other for a job poorly done.
In the black community, this is definitely “disturbing,” but it’s not “shocking.”
The obvious differences between Paul O’Neal’s and Cody Gallamore’s apprehensions are why black Americans discuss the phrase “white privilege” in the United States.
Although white Americans make up the U.S. majority, at approximately 62 percent, they only account for 49 percent of those who are killed by law enforcement, says Washington Post.
The source notes that black Americans account for roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population. Yet, 24 percent of people shot and killed by police officers are black.
By population ratio, that means blacks, like Paul O’Neal, are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by police officers than whites for the same crimes.
Don’t think so?
According to Springfield News-Leader, you can visit Cody Gallamore — who is labeled a “prior and persistent felony offender” — at Greene County Jail. He’s currently being held there.
However, you can’t visit Paul O’Neal. He’s dead — and for only one of Gallamore’s multiple offenses.
America, this is one of many topics that encompass the phrase “white privilege.” There are simply too many variations to mention.
Your thoughts? Feel free to comment in the section below.
[Photo by Chicago Police Department/Independent Police Review Authority/AP Images]