Body camera footage of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy appears to show the teen had put his hands up right before the cop opened fire.
A still frame taken from the jumpy nighttime footage indicates Adam Toledo wasn’t holding anything and had his hands up, or partially up, when the officer shot him in the chest.
Police say the teen had a handgun on him that morning, and the bodycam footage shows the officer shining a light on a handgun on the ground near Toledo after he shot him.
But an attorney for Adam’s family said Thursday: ‘Those videos speak for themselves. If you are shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air it is an assassination. His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer.’
Before the video’s release, some businesses in downtown Chicago’s ‘Magnificent Mile’ shopping district boarded up their windows in anticipation of protests turning violent.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, an independent board that investigates Chicago police shootings, released the graphic footage of the March 29 fatal shooting on Thursday after allowing Toledo’s family to view it privately on Tuesday.
Police had said they responded before dawn on the morning of the shooting after a police technology detected gun shots there.
The teen, who was Latino, and a 21-year-old fled on foot when confronted by police, and an officer shot the teen once in the chest following a foot chase during what the department described as an armed confrontation.
The footage shows that it took 19 seconds from which the officer – who has not been named by it reported to a 34-year-old who joined the force in 2015 – exited his squad car to when he shot the teen.
Video shows the pursuing officer ordering Toledo to stop and show his hands, which the teen is seen doing in the screenshot above
The officer fired a single shot, striking Toledo in the upper chest, after yelling at him to show his hands and ‘drop it’
Chicago released body camera video on Thursday showing 13-year-old Adam Toledo turning around while being chased by a police officer on March 29
After getting out of the vehicle, the officer chases Toledo on foot down an alley for several seconds and yells ‘Police! Stop! Stop right (expletive) now!’ He yells ‘drop it!’ at the teen right before he opens fire.
In the video, an officer is seen jumping out of his patrol car and pursuing Toledo on foot through an alley.
‘Stop right f***ing now!’ the officer yells at the fleeing teen. ‘Show me your f***ing hands! Drop it’
When Toledo turns around to face the officer, he appears to raise his hands. A moment later, a single shot rings out and the teen collapses to the ground, with blood gushing from his mouth.
The officer radios in ‘shot fired,’ lays Toledo flat on his back and begins frantically looking for the wound. ‘Stay with me, stay with me,’ he implores the mortally wounded Toledo.
Another officer rushes over with a medical kit and the two begin administering CPR. ‘I’m not feeling a heartbeat,’ the officer says.
One video appears to show Adam throwing something away in the moments before he is shot but it has not been confirmed what the item was.
Adam’s family attorney said Thursday: ‘Adam during his last seconds of life did not have a gun in his hand. Adam complied. He did not have a gun in his hand.
‘The officer saw his hands were up and pulled the trigger.’
The attorney added: ‘It is especially important to keep the peace. [The family] want justice.’
Video shows the officer who fired on Toledo radioing in, ‘shot fired,’ then frantically trying to find the wound. He yells out for a colleague to bring a medical kit
Despite efforts to revive Toledo, as seen in the body camera video the teen died from his injury
The board initially said it couldn’t release the video because it involved the shooting of a minor, but it changed course after Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago’s police superintendent called for the video’s release.
Footage of the Toledo shooting had been widely anticipated in the city, where the release of some previous police shooting videos sparked major protests, including the 2015 release of footage of a white officer shooting Black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, killing him.
Lightfoot said the city has been preparing for months for a verdict in the Chauvin trial and that it had activated a ‘neighborhood protection plan.’
The Toledo family, meanwhile, issued a statement urging people to ‘remain peaceful.’
Shadows on a fence show the officer who shot Toledo is seen being comforted by a colleague
Just hours prior to the release, Mayor Lightfoot urged people to keep calm and remain peaceful.
Toledo passed away after suffering a single gunshot wound to the upper chest
Choking up at times, she decried the city’s long history of police violence and misconduct, especially in Black and brown communities, and said too many young people are left vulnerable to ‘systemic failures that we simply must fix.’
‘We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,’ the mayor said. ‘So while we don´t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain. It is even clearer that trust between our community and law enforcement is far from healed and remains badly broken.’
Asked whether the video showed whether the teen fired on the officer, Lightfoot said she had seen no evidence that he had. She described watching the jumpy footage as ‘excruciating.’
‘As a mom, this is not something you want children to see,’ said the mayor. She declined to say if the footage showed whether the teen was holding a gun when he was shot, but she called a prosecutor’s assertion at a recent hearing that Toledo had a gun when he was shot ‘correct.’
The release comes in the wake of the traffic-stop shooting of Daunte Wright by a an officer in a Minneapolis suburb that has sparked protests as the broader Minneapolis area nervously awaits the outcome of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the first of four officers charged in George Floyd´s death.
Some businesses in Chicago boarded up their windows following the release of the video
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had called for the video’s release but urged people to keep calm and remain peaceful in an emotional press conference. Shops are boarded up Thursday
An attorney, pictured, for Adam’s family said Thursday: ‘Those videos speak for themselves. If you are shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air it is an assassination’
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on people to keep calm and remain peaceful during a news conference at City Hall on Thursday ahead of the release of the video showing Toledo’s shooting
Protesters holding signs navigate along Chicago’s South Michigan Avenue during a peaceful protest on Wednesday, ahead of the video release of Toledo’s shooting
In Chicago, police said officers responded to an area of the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s West Side after learning that gunshots had been detected in the area by a police-operated technology.
Toledo and 21-year-old Ruben Roman Jr fled on foot when confronted by police, and an officer shot the teen once in the chest following a foot chase during what the department described as an armed confrontation. Police said a handgun the boy had been carrying was recovered at the scene.
The review board declined to release all but the most basic details of what happened, leaving many questions unanswered, including whether or not the boy pointed the gun at the officer or fired on him before the officer shot him.
The name of the officer, who was placed on administrative leave per department policy in police-involved shootings, has also not been released.
Some details did emerge at a hearing for Roman Jr, who authorities say was with Toledo the night he died, including prosecutors’ contention that the man fired the gun several times before officers arrived and had handed it to the teen.
Elizabeth Toledo, Adam’s mother, came forward over the weekend and issued a plea for calm following reports that members of the Latin Kings gang planned on seeking revenge for her son’s death by shooting at unmarked police vehicles.
‘No one has anything to gain by inciting violence,’ she said via a statement Sunday. ‘Adam was a sweet and loving boy. He would not want anyone else to be injured or die in his name.’
Elizabeth said her son had hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement in the future.
‘He was so full of life. They just took it away from him,’ she said.
Neither Mayor Lightfoot nor Superintendent David Brown has discussed the shooting in detail or suggested the officer did anything wrong.
The Chicago Police Department released a photo of the gun that was recovered from the scene after one of its officers shot and killed Adam Toledo last Monday
Elizabeth Toledo (left) is pictured with her son, Adam (right), who she said was ‘full for life’ and wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement
But the video’s release comes at a time of inflamed tensions between police and the public. Besides the ongoing trial of Chauvin, the country has in recent days watched video of the fatal shooting of Wright, and a police officer in Virginia pepper-spraying a Black and Latino U.S. Army second lieutenant during another traffic stop.
The Chicago Police Department has a long history of brutality and racism that has fomented mistrust among the city´s many Black and Hispanic residents. Adding to that mistrust is the city´s history of suppressing damning police videos.
The city fought for months to keep the public from seeing the 2014 video of a white officer shoot a Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times, killing him. The officer was eventually convicted of murder.
And the city tried to stop a TV news station from broadcasting video of a botched 2019 police raid in which an innocent, naked, Black woman wasn’t allowed to put on clothes until after she was handcuffed.