CHICAGO — Videos of Chicago police killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29 were released Thursday, shocking people across Chicago and the United States.
The videos come as the nation is watching the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minnesota officer who killed George Floyd; and as people are reeling over police fatally shooting Daunte Wright.
Toledo was a 13-year-old Latino boy who lived — and was killed in — Little Village. He is the youngest victim of a police shooting in Chicago in years.
Here’s what you need to know:
Early March 29, officers were responding to a notification about shots being fired when officer Eric Stillman fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo. The shooting happened in an alley near the 2400 block of South Sawyer Avenue in Little Village.
It took two days for police to identify Toledo and inform his family.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the shooting. The agency released videos and other material from that night, showing the moments before the shooting, the shooting itself and the aftermath.
The videos sparked outrage in Chicago and nationally, leading to small protests Thursday night. More protests are expected to follow Friday and this weekend.
What The Videos Show
The videos, which are extremely graphic, were released Thursday. They show the moments leading up to Stillman shooting Toledo, the shooting itself and the aftermath.
Video taken from the front door of a Little Village church shows Toledo and 21-year-old Ruben Roman walking down the street before stopping at the corner of 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue, where it appears Roman fired shots at a target that is out of view.
Body-camera footage shows Stillman chasing Toledo through an alley, yelling at the teen to stop. Stillman catches up to Toledo, who appears to have stopped running near a gap in a fence between the alley and a church parking lot.
Video from a different angle appears to show Toledo tossing a gun behind the fence moments before he is shot.
Immediately after commanding Toledo to show his hands, Stillman shot the boy at close distance. Toledo’s hands were raised when he was shot, the footage shows.
The footage does not show Toledo point or raise a gun at Stillman at the end of the chase. Toledo does not appear to be holding the gun as the officer shot him.
The videos show Toledo collapsing as he bleeds profusely from his abdomen, nose and mouth. Police try to give him aid but he dies at the scene.
What Officials Say
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has expressed her condolences to Toledo’s family. The mayor has also defended Stillman and said people should think about the impact shootings have on officers and their families.
An attorney for Toledo’s family said the videos show the seventh-grader had raised his hands and was not holding a gun when he was shot. The killing was “an assassination,” attorney Adeena Weiss Ortiz said.
Peaceful protests and memorials have been organized to honor Toledo and to call for police to be held accountable. There were small protests Thursday night, with larger gatherings expected Friday and this weekend.
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.
Toledo, who was Latino, was a 13-year-old Little Village resident and a seventh-grader at Gary Elementary School.
Toledo was a “happy boy” who played with Hot Wheels cars and liked to ride bikes with the youngest of his four siblings, his mother said. His family has said the boy had a supportive, “tight-knit” family and lived with his mother, grandfather and two siblings. His father was involved in his life, as well.
“He would cheer everyone up just with his smile, with his thoughts,” his mother said. “… He was only a kid.”
Stillman, 34, has been a Chicago police officer for five years and is a military veteran. He was a 10th District tactical unit officer at the time he shot Toledo.
Since mid-2017, four use of force reports and three complaints have been filed against Stillman, according to the Invisible Institute.
Additionally, the officer has eight honorable mentions, received a Military Service Award from the Police Department and is a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Valor.
The police union has hired a lawyer to defend Stillman, who has not been charged with any crime at this point. Lightfoot has defended the officer.
Stillman has been placed on administrative duties for 30 days, Supt. David Brown said.
COPA is investigating the shooting. Lightfoot said she has urged the agency to work quickly and transparently.
Once COPA has completed its investigation, it will send recommendations on what punishments to levy — or not — against Stillman and other officers. The agency could recommend no actions be taken or could suggest Stillman and the other officers be fired, among other options.
Brown has 90 days to review the recommendations. If the superintendent agrees with those recommendations, they will go before the city’s Law Department and then be filed with the Police Board.
If Brown disagrees with those recommendations, the issue will go to the Police Board.
Stillman could also potentially face charges pending the outcome of an investigation from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
On Saturday, during a bond hearing for Roman, prosecutors said Toledo was holding a gun and was told twice to “drop it” before the police officer shot him.
But just before the video was made public, a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office said prosecutor James Murphy was wrong about that detail in court. Murphy said Toledo had a gun in his hand when he turned toward the officer, but video appears to contradict that.
“An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court,” Sarah Sinovic, a spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said in a statement. “The video speaks for itself.” Sinovic did not say why it took prosecutors five days to correct that information.
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