DOWNTOWN — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s top assistant has resigned after an internal probe found a lack of oversight was to blame for a top prosecutor mischaracterizing what bodycam video of police killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo showed.
The office released the findings of an internal investigation Wednesday morning, which found “a breakdown of communication in how information was shared” resulted in Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy saying Toledo was holding a gun when he turned toward the officer who shot him. The state’s attorney’s office later said Murphy got that detail wrong, noting that video appears to show Toledo tossing the gun moments before he was shot.
In the breakdown of communication, information was not elevated to Foxx “before, nor in a timely manner” of the bond hearing, the internal investigation showed.
“The tragedy of the death of 13-year old boy has been clouded by the confusion and frustration my office has caused and for this I apologize,” Foxx said in a prepared statement. “It’s not lost on me that our community is grieving and I want to assure Adam’s family and the public that my office is working diligently to investigate his death.”
At the bond hearing for Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old who police allege was with Toledo that night, Murphy said Toledo was holding a gun when he turned toward officer Eric Stillman before Stillman shot Toledo.
But just before the body cam videos were made public, a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s Office said Murphy was wrong about that detail in court. Video appears to show Toledo tossing the gun behind the fence before he was 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.
Before the footage was released, the state’s attorney’s office said Murphy failed “to fully inform himself before speaking in court.” Office leaders have failed to answer questions abut why it took prosecutors five days after Murphy made the statement in court to correct that information.
Following the release of the video, Foxx was criticized for the office’s handling of the case and the Little Village Community Council demanded Murphy resign.
Murphy was placed on leave following the video’s release but is now back on the job, according to a press release from the state’s attorney’s office.
According to the investigation, Murphy “did not intend to give the impression that Adam Toledo was holding a gun when shot.”
“The language the attorney used in court was inartful, leaving an unintended impression,” according to a press statement on the investigation findings.
The statements made in bond court “were not intended to describe the sequence of events leading up” to the shooting, but were intended to provide context related to the charges against Roman, according to the state’s attorney’s internal review.
In the wake of the investigation, Kim Foxx’s second-in-command, First Assistant Jennifer Coleman, resigned.
Asked whether the resignation was related to the Toledo investigation, state’s attorney spokeswoman Sarah Sinvoic confirmed the departure but said the office “cannot comment on personnel matters.”
Coleman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
In response to the probe, Foxx’s office said attorneys will be trained on “presenting facts in court to support the charges at issue.” Additional policies and procedures will also be updated to ensure “checks and balances” operate as intended.
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