Chicago FOP President Dean Angelo joined Dan & Amy to discuss the police videos related to the police-involved shooting death of Paul O'Neal.
Angelo said he was concerned that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was prejudging the case.
Earlier this year, in an interview for Against The Current, Angelo predicted Chicago would experience a bloody summer given the current climate in which police must operate. Chicago just finished the deadliest July in a decade.
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DAN PROFT: Good morning. What is up? Dan and Amy; this bit of breaking news, according to the hill and a couple of other outlets. AMY JACOBSON: Yeah. DAN PROFT: A man named Evan McMullen, who is a former CIA Operative and the current Chief Policy Director of the House Republican conference, expected to announce an independent presidential bid today. AMY JACOBSON: What? DAN PROFT: He's going to try to get on 20 to 30 State ballots and his candidacy is specifically focused on stopping Donald Trump. AMY JACOBSON: Yeah well good luck with that. Haven't others tried that before who thought about that? David French... DAN PROFT: We'll have more on that story but this individual is apparently actually doing it. We'll have more on that story but want to return to the issue of the Paul O’Neal shooting since those nine videos were released on Friday: four Body-cam videos, five Dash- cam videos. This is again the 18-year-old black kid, steals a Jaguar, speeding up and down the streets, side swipes one police car that he's coming at head-on which results in one of the officers in that car opening fire and then crashes head-on into another police cruiser and then leaves you know, exits the vehicle that precipitates a chase. He's ultimately shot and killed by Chicago Police. Michael Oppenheimer, the plaintiff's attorney for the O’Neal family had this to say: "These police officers decided to play judge, jury, and executioner." Now you expect a little overheated rhetoric from a plaintiff's attorney but that does not square with what you see on those videos in my estimation. AMY JACOBSON: No in the videos this guy, O’Neal used his vehicle as a weapon. He was trying in my estimation, to run down the police officers and kill them and they fired shots back and there was, like the fog of War, what happened and after the shooting the body cameras picked up this: "No the shots were coming at us when the car was coming at us. That’s-all I heard was shots. I don't know if they fired or not, we came head on. I took off this way, he was coming over this way and when I approached this way, I didn't know if he was armed or not." And that was an officer. DAN PROFT: And so police chief Eddie Johnson said, at a news conference over the weekend : "A lot of people are upset by what they saw, quite honestly they have a right to be upset," which was interesting and the head of the Independent Police Review Authority, Sharon Fairley, said she found the video "shocking and disturbing." So a little bit of judge, jury and executioner from the police department and IRPA side. For more on this, we're happy to be joined by our friend Dean Angelo Senior. He's of course the president of Chicago FOP Lodge 7. Dean thanks for joining us, appreciate it. DEAN ANGELO: You're welcome, good morning. DAN PROFT: So why don't we start with the reactions before we get into the details of the incident at least as memorialized on those videos. What is your response to the quick response or the judgmental response from Chief Johnson as well as the Independent Police Review Authority? DEAN ANGELO: Well, I'll start with the IPRA-those kind of comments coming from someone who is supposed to be doing a fair and impartial and unbiased investigation, right at the onset is a little concerning; and it's part of what I've been talking about for months now, that you have a civilian organization investigating police-involved incidents that don't have the wherewithal to do that or to do so because any investigator involved in police work would never make statements about an investigation that is just beginning, like, say the ones that were made the other day. That's completely unacceptable and another example of how they just don't have a handle on this. AMY JACOBSON: I know it's early in the investigation but do you think those three officers felt that their life was in jeopardy, that's the reason why they shot at Paul O'Neal? DEAN ANGELO: Well it's hard to put yourself in the mindset of the police officers. When they're there you can see the event unfold, it happens in a matter of moments. The reactions that were done were done by individuals that were in a heightened sense of anxiety and a heightened sense of fear that something was about to happen and when you have a situation of this nature, and the policy was changed out of Garry McCarthy, so there's a couple of different issues at hand: we have administrative issues and then we have the incident that resulted in the death of O'Neal. So there's a lot of aspects of this investigation that have to be put together and it's very early right now at this stage. DAN PROFT: But what about this matter of the opening fire, the one officer opened fire, this against the new protocol of not shooting into or at moving vehicles if that's the only weapon that the assailant is using. Now there is a kind of an out. We talked to a criminal defence during last hour who made the point- there's sort of an out that, kind of- you still are allowed to take reasonable precautions and protection of your life. So it seems to me that this is going to be the critical issue in terms of litigating this or investigating it at the IRPA level because the shots that were fired by the first officer at the first car that the assailant came upon, created confusion as to who was firing with officers down the block. DEAN ANGELO: Well the officers that were coming down the block, they were eventually hit head on, had the fear that they were being fired at and they were under the assumption I believe, that the offending vehicle was the one where the shots were coming from. Now I've not seen any case reports, I have not interviewed anybody in this process at this stage so it's very difficult to put yourself in those shoes when these things come out and occur so quickly and we're waiting on further discussion and further discovery and the lawyer you mentioned- the family's attorney, some of the statements he had made prior to even seeing the video were completely inaccurate and some of the statements he's made since, have been extremely accusatory, that there was a conspiracy and that the cameras were shut off on purpose. It's such a far reach but I guess when you can say what you want in certain situations now in Chicago and not be held accountable. AMY JACOBSON: Well the truth of the matter is that we recently received those body cameras- what a week ago? DEAN ANGELO: Right, so I think that one of the officers that were involved although, I believe the one with the camera that wasn't capturing anything during the incident had the camera for about four days and there's a lot of training involved as far as-when it's recording, when it's not recording but also when you are to engage it, when you're not to engage it but then you have to add the heightened stress of this situation on top of everything else. You know when you think you're going to-or you're taking fire and now you're involved in a four-chase and your mindset has to break from that to activate the camera. You know with four days of wearing that device is kind of a far reach in and of itself as well. DAN PROFT: Yeah and we sat down and did an interview for or against the current series on upstream- ideas.com a couple months ago and you said "Get ready for a bloody summer and your prediction, unfortunately, has come true- July, the bloodiest July in a decade. And then we hear, after the shooting and after the suspect had been arrested while awaiting the paramedics, the officers at the scene are talking to one another and the Officer, Ortiz I believe is his name, who apparently shot Mr. O'Neal says: " I hope the guy is going to be alright. I'm going to get crucified." And it seems to me that was a real insight into the mentality that police have in the climate in which they operate. DEAN ANGELO: Well, we have individuals that are involved in doing police work that get stripped of their police powers and their just performing their job. It might not look good on camera but you're taking action that saves your partner or you're taking actions that you perceive to be the proper actions at the time. No-one wants to come on this job or the course of their career and ever fired a weapon yet alone take someone's life. It's extremely difficult for any human being to be involved in that and people forget that because these individuals, these women and men are wearing a blue shirt and I think that's lost on a lot of what's going on right now. It's not your intention to leave your home, go to work and then engage in deadly force. It's not what someone does and have that in their mindset but it's something that you always have to be prepared for and generally, it's based on the actions of the individual that's involved on the other end of these incidents. AMY JACOBSON: Now Dean, do you fear that these three officers will be charged criminally? DEAN ANGELO: No I don't think so. At this stage it's early to tell but it is 2016 in Chicago and we don't know, what to expect. I don't think there was criminal intent in the mindset of any of these individuals. I think that we have a situation, tragic as it was, that will be investigated. If it's investigated based on what occurred, once the evidence comes out and once the statements are considered, I don't think that there's any criminal charges that are available. But again, it is 2016 in the city of Chicago and I wouldn't be surprised what can happen but we're going to be watching this and we have individuals involved with these officers right now talking to them and we'll see what happens. DAN PROFT: One of the comments that was made by Officer Ortiz when he got into the ambulance was rather remarkable and it's kind of been underreported, but he's talking to paramedics and saying: "Where do you want to go- and it's UFC or Christ hospital," and the paramedic says, "Well they don't like police at Christ hospital, they're going to make you wait in the waiting room so why don't we take you to UFC." The idea that there is a hospital in the city of Chicago that has an antagonistic posture towards police as it pertains to providing medical attention, kind of a remarkable statement for a paramedic to make, don't you think? DEAN ANGELO: Well, and the paramedics know, they're in and out of those... [Crosstalk DAN PROFT: I know. ] DEAN ANGELO: ...units or emergency rooms at a regular basis they know everybody and, does it surprise me? No. It is where we are at right now, you know the police have been vilified and it's gone to the emergency rooms. We generally have an amazing relationship with nurses and emergency room personnel so it's kind of sad that's where we're at with that institution. But the paramedic would not have made that type of statement if he didn't have some sort of substance to back it up. DAN PROFT: Well I know. That's the frightening part of it. One on national question before we let you go. Over the weekend the National Fraternal Order of Police, the organization you head up in Chicago, found out that Hillary Clinton is not going to seek that Union's endorsement and Chuck Canterbury, the national FOP president said “It sends a powerful message. To be honest with you I was disappointed and shocked." Do you have any reaction to Hillary Clinton deciding not to seek the FOP endorsement? DEAN ANGELO: Well from what I understand, we've known of this for a couple weeks now. And we're waiting for the national to come out and say something about it but because it is a national process it goes to the national organization. It's their responsibility to reach out and submit a multiple questionnaire for the Presidential Candidates to complete so that they could share that with their Political Committee and then to the memberships throughout the different states and consider an endorsement and I guess Mr. Trump completed his and Mrs. Clinton did not and for what I remember by the release that was submitted to us, was that multiple attempts were made to her camp to get the questionnaire completed so that they could submit it to the committee for review and the time frame came and left and it basically fell on deaf ears and then we were told that in fact they were not going to complete the questionnaire and that's where we're at right now. DAN PROFT: Yeah they have other people completing that 'black lives matter questionnaire'. Dean Angelo Senior, President of FOP, Lodge 7 in Chicago. Dean thanks as always for joining us, appreciate it. DEAN ANGELO: You're welcome. Thank you.