CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for Chicago to remain peaceful Thursday as the city prepares to release videos of police killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
A Chicago police officer fatally shot Toledo March 29 in Little Village. Videos and other material from that night are expected to be released 2:30 p.m. Thursday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which is investigating the shooting.
Lightfoot said it is “excruciating” to watch the videos, particularly footage that shows Toledo mortally wounded after an officer shot him. She and Little Village community leaders held a news conference where they said the video will raise strong emotions in people and urged people to protest nonviolently.
“This is not something you want children to see,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot also asked people to give space to the Toledo family and to remain peaceful.
“These videos and these moments are never easy to bear witness to, regardless of the circumstances. And what I’ve learned is you need to brace yourself beforehand,” Lightfoot said. “Let yourself feel the pain and anguish and shock of these traumatic events to avoid becoming numb as you watch.
“As more and more people see this footage, I want to ask again that everyone tuning in right now think first and foremost about Adam Toledo, about what his family is enduring every single day since they learned of his passing. I also ask that each of us give them space to breathe.
“Even as our understanding of this incident continues to evolve, this remains a complicated and nuanced story. And we all must proceed with deep empathy and calm and, importantly, peace.”
Lightfoot acknowledged trust between the police and many communities in Chicago has been broken by years of abuse, but she said she urging people to “wait until we hear all the facts” before making up their mind on the case.
Raul Raymunod, CEO of the Resurrection Project, said he has not seen the video itself but, based on what he has heard about it, “We can anticipate high emotions — emotions of anxiety, emotions of anger, emotions of despair and so forth” to be stirred in people.
Raymundo, speaking at the news conference with Lightfoot, said people should exercise their First Amendment right to protest nonviolently.
In a Thursday morning statement, Lightfoot, the city’s lead attorney and the attorneys representing Toledo’s family asked that people respond “peacefully” to the videos and respect the family’s privacy as they grieve.
“We acknowledge that the release of this video is the first step in the process toward the healing of the family, the community and our city,” the group said in the emailed statement. “We understand that the release of this video will be incredibly painful and elicit an emotional response to all who view it, and we ask that people express themselves peacefully.”
The group also said everyone agreed all material from that night should be released. The family, which saw the videos Tuesday, had initially asked COPA to delay releasing the videos.
The videos come from body cameras worn by police when an officer fatally shot Toledo. COPA will also release third-party video, transmission from the city’s Office of Emergency Communications, ShotSpotter recordings, case incident information and tactical response and arrest reports.
People will be able to view that material online come Thursday, according to COPA.
Peaceful protests and memorials have been organized to honor Toledo and to call for police to be held accountable since his death. Two protests were staged Tuesday and Wednesday Downtown.
The city has prepared for potential unrest in the wake of the video’s release. More police have been stationed Downtown and large trucks have been prepared to block neighborhood commercial strips to protect businesses from looting like that experienced last summer.
In a phone call with Little Village leaders Wednesday, city officials urged community members to help “keep the peace.”
The officer who shot Toledo has been placed on administrative duties for 30 days, which is “routine protocol,” Supt. David Brown previously said. COPA is investigating and Lightfoot said she has urged the agency to be “expeditious.”
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