Chicago Police released body camera footage showing an officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy last month.
Video of the murder of Adam Toledo, who was shot on March 29 in what police called an “armed confrontation” has been released Thursday afternoon, less than a week after the boy’s burial. Several videos were released Thursday afternoon by the Chicago Police Civil Accountability Office (COPA) that include body camera footage, a third-party video and a time-lapse version of events.
It came as tensions were already at a boiling point following the police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis. Before the video was released, protesters marched through the streets of downtown at night chanting, “Say his name! Adam Toledo! ”
The footage was released to the public after the boy’s family saw them. In a press conference ahead of the publication, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the videos were “incredibly difficult to watch.” She noted that there was “no evidence at all that Adam Toledo shot the police.”
“I want to ask again that everyone agrees right now to think first and foremost of Adam Toledo … that each of us gives [his family] room to breathe, ”Lightfoot said during the briefing, choking at times. “While our understanding of this incident continues to evolve, it remains a complicated and nuanced story. And we must all proceed with deep empathy, calm, and most importantly, peace. ”
The mayor asked the community to “reserve their judgment” because the authorities “do not have the information to be the judge and the jury of the particular situation”.
“Let’s wait to hear all the facts,” Lightfoot said.
She also denounced the gun problem in the city, saying there are too many “on our streets”.
“We failed Adam,” said Lightfoot. “We cannot afford to fail another youngster in our town.”Prosecutors say a chain of chaotic events led to the shooting on the west side of town, where officers responded after several shots were detected around 2:30 a.m. on March 29. When officers arrived, Toledo was at the scene with a 21-year-old. Ruben Roman and the two ran off, police said.
Roman was tackled and arrested, while Toledo continued to run and was chased by another officer who ordered him to stop in an alleyway. Prosecutors say Toledo pulled over but then refused to show his hands and turned to the officer with a gun. The officer then shot Toledo directly in the chest, killing him.
According to prosecutors, a 9mm Ruger was found a few yards from Toledo, and that gun matched shell casings found where Roman fired the gun on a street corner. Images examined by prosecutors also reportedly showed that it was Roman who initially fired the gun.
The shooting shook the community deeply and sparked a wave of protests, but the Toledo family joined community leaders in calling for calm.
“Adam’s memory can best be honored by refraining from violence and working constructively for reform,” family lawyers said Tuesday.
After looking at the body camera footage Tuesday night, lawyers for the Toledos vowed to “seek justice” by conducting their own investigation, separate from that conducted by the Civil Liability Bureau of the police.
Lightfoot said on Thursday that videos of the incident clearly show two things: that in the middle of the night Toledo was “in contact with an adult who had a gun” and that “too many young people in our city … have been left … vulnerable by system failures that we simply need to fix. ”
She also accused the city’s systemic problems of generational poverty, divestment and racism of playing a role in the boy’s death.
Cook County prosecutors have so far sought to blame Roman for the death of the seventh grader, who has been charged with endangering children, aggravated illegal use of a weapon and reckless discharge of a gun for its role in the fateful events of that night.
“If the accused does not bring the 13-year-old with him, if he does not bring his gun with him during the probation period for offender with a firearm, if he does not fire this weapon. eight times on a city street with Toledo) standing at arm’s length as he fires those shots … none of this would have happened, ”argued the deputy state attorney James Murphy in court.
Roman was first released on a misdemeanor charge after the shooting, but was brought back after dropping a hearing in a separate case. He reportedly told police he did not know who Toledo was and claimed he was waiting in the alley for a train.
It is not known how Roman and Toledo got to know each other. Toledo’s mother, Elizabeth, said The Chicago Sun-Times she “just wants answers on what really happened.”
“He wanted to be a cop when he grew up. And the next thing you know, a cop killed him ”she said.