LOGAN SQUARE — After news spread that a police officer killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Little Village Monday, a small crowd gathered in Logan Square Friday night to demand justice and more accountability and transparency from the police.
At around 2:30 a.m. Monday, a police officer shot and killed the seventh grader in the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue in Little Village. The Police Department has released few details about the incident, saying officers were responding to a ShotSpotter alert of shots fired when they encountered two people in an alley.
In an initial police statement more than 12 hours after the shooting, officials said one “armed male” was running from officers, who chased him. The “foot pursuit ensued which resulted in a confrontation in the alley … The officer fired his weapon striking the offender in the chest.” Police have described the encounter as an “armed confrontation.” A photo of a gun was shared by a police spokesman on Twitter, but police have not answered additional questions about the shooting or who the gun belonged to.
The community has expressed outrage over the shooting and wants justice served for Toledo and his family, as well as body camera footage released from officers at the scene. On Friday before the protest, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it will release the videos to the public after the family views them.
The Friday night protest, which was organized autonomously, started and ended at Palmer Square Park. Despite the small crowd of about 50 people, marchers took to the streets and stopped traffic at various intersections, with police cars following behind and on side streets.
People chanted and held signs that read, “Abolish the police” and members from the Little Village Community Council attended with signs that read, “Justice for Adam” in English and Spanish.
“No country is right for a child to die at the hands of our law enforcement,” said Enrique Enriquez, a member of the Little Village Community Council who helped organize an earlier rally in Little Village and knows the Toledo family. “We are not going to allow any of this to continue [in Little Village].”
Enriquez said that even though the Logan Square protest turnout was small, people must continue to hold the police accountable, and citywide support is needed. Like other activists and community members outraged about the incident, he said the lack of details surrounding the shooting is unacceptable and wants the officer fired.
“The officer must lose his badge and the camera [footage] has to come out within 48 hours — just like it took them 48 hours to say [Toledo] was gone,” he said. “That child got the right like every other child to live his life and now we cannot give that to him. But what we can give him is justice.”
Elizabeth Toledo, Adam’s mother, reported her son missing days before the shooting, she previously told Block Club. On Wednesday, two days after the shooting, police reached out to the family asking for a photo, she said. She thought they were asking for the missing persons report. But about a half hour later, they knocked on her door asking her to go to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office to identify his body, Elizabeth Toledo said.
Enriquez brought his sons to the Logan Square protest and said that the Little Village community feels Elizabeth Toledo’s pain. He wants people to remember the 13-year-old as a “normal little kid who was curious to the world” and not a criminal.
A Logan Square resident who attended the protest, who did not wish to have his name published, said he joined to show solidarity with the Toledo family and call for the continued defunding of the police. He said he was active in the protest uprisings last summer and saw the neighborhood action as a catalyst for that kind of activism to take hold again in the wake of yet another police shooting.
“This last event was significant because it was a kid but [defunding the police] has been boiling for a long time. Everyone here has been angry about this for a long time,” he said. “I wish [the protest] were bigger but this is the start of what I hope will turn into much larger uprisings resembling last summer. I want to show people we are staying out here.”
Kristian Armendariz, 23, a Little Village community activist and a member of the Little Village Community Council, said the group plans to hold daily rallies at the location of the shooting until Civilian Office of Police Accountability releases the video footage to the public, and perhaps until Toledo is buried.
The group is planning a rally at 5 p.m. Saturday outside Farragut Career Academy High School parking lot at 24th and Spaulding.
“If we don’t speak our voice, they are going to keep covering up deaths,” Armendariz said. “Today we are here for Adam but also to try and change CPD’s corruption.”
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