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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Officer Who Killed 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo During Foot Chase Could Be Fired

Chicago's eight-member Police Board will hold a hearing to decide if officer Eric Stillman will be fired.

Community members gather in Little Village on April 5, 2021 to mourn 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was fatally shot by the Chicago Police a week ago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The Chicago police officer who fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March 2021 could be fired from the department.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a watchdog that investigates when police use force, had recommended officer Eric Stillman be dismissed for “acting inconsistently” with police policy for chasing people and had improperly used deadly force. Supt. David Brown rejected that recommendation, saying Stillman should instead be suspended for no more than five days.

Police Board President Ghian Foreman sided with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability during a Thursday night meeting, the Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba and Emmanuel Camarillo reported.

Now, the board’s eight members will hold a hearing to decide if Stillman will be fired.

Stillman’s attorney, Tim Grace, could not immediately be reached for comment about Foreman’s decision, but he told the Sun-Times he is “extremely disappointed.”

“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office investigated this case and correctly concluded that the use of force by Officer Stillman was proper and consistent with Illinois law,” Grace told the Sun-Times.

Attorneys Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, who represent Toledo’s family, said they are thankful for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s “diligent efforts in this investigation.”

“We are relieved COPA has come to the conclusion that the shooting was unjustified, which is consistent with our understanding of the facts,” the attorneys said in a statement. “We look forward to a satisfactory resolution of this matter, justice for the Toledo family and a safer Chicago community.”

County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced in March her office will not press charges against Stillman.

Stillman fatally shot Toledo on March 29, 2021, in a Little Village alley. The shooting generated national controversy, leading to protests in Chicago. His family and community activists have repeatedly said Stillman should be held to account in some way.

The night Toledo was killed, he had snuck away from his home and family. It was days before the Police Department informed his family about his death, with officials saying it was because they had problems identifying the boy.

Graphic video footage of Stillman shooting Toledo was publicly released in April 2021, leading to marches in the city. Little Village activists called for Stillman to be charged with murder.

Body-camera footage from the shooting shows Stillman — a 10th District tactical unit officer — chasing Toledo through an alley, yelling at the teen to stop. In the video, 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 was shot.

Stillman flashed a strobe flashlight at Toledo and said, “Hands! Show me your f—— hands!”

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.

There was less than one second between the time Toledo turned to face Stillman, the gun still in his hand, and Stillman shooting as the 13-year-old dropped the gun, Foxx said when announcing the officer wouldn’t be charged.

“To be precise, it was estimated to be 838 milliseconds,” Foxx said.

Attorneys for Toledo’s family have said they are “profoundly disappointed” Stillman won’t be prosecuted, and they’ll seek monetary damages in civil court against the officer and the city. They’ll also contact the Department of Justice “to address this horrific travesty,” lawyers Weiss Ortiz and Hirschhorn said in a March statement.

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