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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Police Foot Chase Policy Should Be Changed, Lightfoot Says After 13-Year-Old Boy Killed By Officer

Chases pose a "significant safety issue" to officers, the person being chased and community members — yet police chase people many times every single day, Lightfoot said.

Bill Healy / WBEZ
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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the Police Department will reform its foot chase policy after an officer shot and killed a 13-year-old boy after a chase last week in Little Village.

But the mayor and Supt. David Brown, speaking during a Monday news conference, released no concrete information about how the policy could be changed, nor did they detail a plan for making any changes.

Lightfoot said it is “past time” for the Police Department to examine and update its foot chase policy, as the Obama administration flagged foot pursuits as something that required immediate consideration in January 2018.

Chases pose a “significant safety issue” to officers, the person being chased and community members — yet police chase people many times every single day, Lightfoot said.

To come up with a new chase policy, the Police Department will host focus groups with officers and with community members to “strike the right balance” and examine best practices for foot chases in other cities, Lightfoot said. Officials need to come up with a policy that protects communities without putting people at risk, she said.

“No longer can we afford to put off tomorrow what we can address today because lives are truly at stake,” Lightfoot said.

The Police Department’s use of foot chases is under renewed scrutiny after the killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

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 about 2:30 a.m.

Officers saw two “males” who ran away, Brown said at Monday’s news conference. The officers chased, “which resulted in an armed confrontation,” Brown said.

An officer shot, fatally hitting Toledo in his chest. The boy’s family wasn’t notified about his death until two days later — which Brown said was due to the department’s struggles to identify Toledo.

Brown refused to answer questions about which of the “males” had a gun.

Officials have said they’ll release video of the shooting after Toledo’s mother has had a chance to view it.

RELATED: Video Of Chicago Police Killing 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Will Be Released, Agency Says After Public Pressure

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