Chicago‘s police review board on Thursday released videos, 911 calls and other materials related to the officer-involved fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo while responding to a report of shots fired in late March.
Extremely graphic police body camera footage shows a Chicago police officer pulling up to the location in the city’s West Side on March 29 and immediately encountering two people, one of whom appears to be Toledo, running away from the area.
The officer shoves the other person to the ground and chases after another person, later identified as Toledo, who is seen running away from the crime scene wearing a baseball cap, a dark-colored hoodie and jeans.
As the camera’s audio begins to play, the officer can be heard telling the boy to “stop” and “stop right f—— now.”
Toledo then stops for a moment before he turns toward the officer, at which point the cop tells him to, “Show me your f—— hand.”
Toledo appears to have his hands up when he is shot at one time. The officer calls over the radio for an ambulance and announces, “Shots fired.”
“Look at me, look at me. You alright? Where are you shot?” the officer asks him. The cop then radios: “Shots fired by the police.”
He continues asking Toledo where he is shot and telling him to “Stay with me.” Other officers can be heard saying, “Stay with me, buddy,” “Stay awake, bud. Come on bud, stay awake,” and “Come on, big guy.”
Toledo was shot one time in the chest. Officers on-scene performed chest compressions while they waited for an ambulance to arrive. The seventh-grader could not be saved.
The police footage later shows a gun on the ground alongside a fence feet from where Toledo was shot.
Police, who were responding to reports of shots fired in the area, say the boy had a handgun on him before the shooting.
Police have said officers were dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood shortly before 3 a.m. on March 29 after the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of eight gunshots. When they arrived, Toledo and a 21-year-old man ran away. While chasing the teen, there was an “armed confrontation” during which the officer shot him once in the chest.
The Toledo family issued a statement Thursday urging people to “remain peaceful.”
“We have heard reports in the media that more protests are planned today, and while we have no direct knowledge of such events, we pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform,” said the family.
Meanwhile, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, an attorney representing the family, said Toledo complied with police orders and called his shooting an assassination, according to CBS Chicago.
“If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination,” Ortiz said, according to the report.
Shortly before the board posted the video and other investigation materials on its website, Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged the public to remain peaceful and reserve judgment until the board can complete its investigation.
Choking up at times during a news conference, Lightfoot decried the city’s long history of police violence and misconduct, especially in Black and Brown communities, and said too many young people are left vulnerable to “systemic failures that we simply must fix.”
“We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,” the mayor said. “So while we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain. It is even clearer that trust between our community and law enforcement is far from healed and remains badly broken.”
When asked whether the video showed whether the teen fired on the officer, Lightfoot said she had seen no evidence that he had. She described watching the jumpy footage as “excruciating.”
Late last week, prosecutors speaking at a court appearance for the 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, revealed more details in the case, saying that Toledo allegedly had a gun in his right hand around the time he was struck, and his friend had fired the bullets that prompted the officers’ response, local affiliate FOX 32 reported.
Roman is reportedly seen on video firing the weapon that brought police to the Little Village neighborhood that night. The pair fled the scene together with officers in pursuit, prosecutors reportedly said.
Roman was arrested as another officer chased Toledo, who prosecutors alleged had a gun when the officer shot him, according to the report. That gun found at the scene matched the spent cartridge casings that were found in the area where Roman was firing, prosecutors reportedly said.
The officer was placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in police shootings.
“If the defendant does not bring the 13-year-old with him, if he doesn’t bring his gun with him while on gun offender probation, if he doesn’t shoot that gun seven to eight times on a city street with the victim standing in arms length of him while he’s firing those shots … none of it would have happened,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said in court, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Lightfoot said earlier this month she instructed Chicago Police Department officials “to use every resource to track down the origins of this gun – through tracing, fingerprinting and DNA and any other means – and to find the person responsible for giving it to Adam.”
Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David O. Brown have previously declined to answer when asked whether the boy fired at the officer before he was shot in the chest. But the mayor strongly suggested that the teen may have been involved in gangs before that night and that a gang member gave him the gun.
“Let’s be clear. An adult put a gun in a child’s hand. A young and impressionable child. And one who should not have been provided with lethal force. A weapon that could and did irreparably change the course of his life,” Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference at New Life Church. “This happens way too often in our city. And it’s way past time for us to say, ‘no more.’”
“Gangs are preying on our most vulnerable, corrupting these young minds with promises of familia and lucre,” she said. “None of us should accept that we have adults here and across Chicago preying upon vulnerable teenage boys,”
She added that it is everyone’s duty to give children the love and support they need.
“That’s how we lessen the allure of gang life,” she said.
Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) had previously announced plans to release the video after Toledo’s family had the chance to view it. But then, earlier this week, COPA said it would not immediately be making the footage public, out of respect for the family’s request.
It was not clear what, if anything, had changed.
Elizabeth Toledo previously called her son “a sweet and loving boy.”
“I want (to) know what happened,” she said. “I just want justice for my son. That’s all.”
“He would not want anyone else to be injured or die in his name,” she said, according to reports.
Brown said Adam had run away at least twice in the days before his death. Adam’s mother reported him missing March 26, but told police the following day that he had returned. Investigators searching through recently closed missing persons reports reached out to Adam’s mother after the shooting and she told them she had not seen him in “several days” but had not reported him missing again.
Lightfoot said the boy’s death would result in a new foot chase policy, though she did not elaborate. She vowed that a new policy would be in place before the beginning of the summer.
Fox New’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report, as well as the Associated Press.
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