October 4, 2023

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Adam Toledo Police Video: Full Story



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The body camera video of the police killing of Adam Toledo shows the 13-year-old raising his hands above his head and complying with police commands when he was shot.

The Adam Toledo video release is coming much sooner than that because of the public attention and Adam’s young age. However, the city initially attempted to keep video from the public saying a state law meant to protect the privacy of minors prevented its release.

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The shooting happened, according to the Chicago Police Department, after officers responded to an alert about potential shots fired near West 24th Street and South Sawyer Avenue on the city’s Southwest Side. Police said when the officers arrived, two people ran, including Adam, and that an officer fired a single shot during an “armed confrontation.”

Adam’s age and identity were not public until three days after the shooting. Police say they struggled to identify the child because he was not carrying any ID and because Roman gave police a fake name for the boy.

Adam’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo, had reported her son missing the week before he was killed, but, on March 27, detectives closed the missing person case because she told them Adam had returned home.

Police said they identified Adam only after detectives started going through closed cases. They contacted Elizabeth Toledo, who identified Adam on Wednesday, March 31. She said her son had returned home on March 27 but then left home again that night.

The city of Chicago Thursday afternoon released highly-anticipated videos and documents connected to the March 29 police shooting. You can find them here. (Warning: The videos in the link show the killing of 13-year-old Adam. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.)

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan showed reporters part of the body camera footage and a composite video at about 12:30 Thursday afternoon.

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That video shows Adam and another person, who authorities have identified as 21-year-old Ruben Roman, Jr., walking together down a street in the Little Village neighborhood. Prosecutors said Roman fired a gun seven or eight times with Adam standing next to him which prompted the police response. At some point prosecutors said Roman handed the gun off to the 13-year-old.

Body camera video from the shooting officer shows him chasing Adam through an alley and yelling for the boy to stop. Adam stopped after a brief chase. It’s clear he could have kept running down the alley.

The video put together by the Police Department freezes on a frame appearing to show a gun in the boy’s hand. (You can watch CPD’s compilation here. Warning: The videos in the link show the killing of 13-year-old Adam. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.)

The officer can then be heard telling Adam, “show me your f***ing hands,” and the boy complies. The gun does not appear to be in Adam’s hand when he is shot. The officer shoots a single shot as the boy is raising his arms above his head.

Deenihan said it was “less than a second” between the moment on the video where a gun can be seen and the single gunshot.

Immediately after firing the shot, the officer can be heard radioing for an ambulance and he then goes to check on Adam.

“Look at me, look at me, you all right?” the officer can be heard saying to the boy. “Where you shot man, where you shot? Stay with me, stay with me.”

Within about a minute after the shooting officers on the scene begin providing medical care to the boy, with the firing officer giving him CPR.

Police records show the officer who fired the shot was 34-year-old Eric Stillman. The Citizens Police Data Project shows that Stillman has been on the force since 2015.

Stillman’s body camera appears to capture the officer crying about five minutes after the shooting.

Adeena J. Weiss-Ortiz, a lawyer for Adam’s family, told reporters Thursday afternoon that “the videos speak for themselves.”

Weiss-Ortiz said she is “not going to deny” that an object in the child’s hand seconds before the shooting could have been a firearm, but she said the video made it clear that Adam wasn’t holding a gun when he was killed.

“If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination,” Weiss-Ortiz said.

“An officer is trained not to shoot an unarmed individual, not to shoot an unarmed child,” Weiss-Ortiz said. “If he asked him to toss it and show his hands and the kid complies, then he shouldn’t be shot.”

Hours before the video release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot fought back tears as she urged Chicagoans to remain peaceful.

“No parent should have a video broadcast widely of their child’s last moments, much less be placed in the terrible situation of losing their child in the first place,” Lightfoot said. “As a mom, this is not something you want children to see.”

The release comes two and a half weeks after the seventh grader was killed around 2:30 a.m. March 29.

The shooting sparked vigils and protests in Chicago and prompted Mayor Lori Lightfoot to promise a new policy on when and how police officers engage in foot chases.

Adam’s family viewed videos and other materials from the shooting on Tuesday. A family spokesperson described it as “extremely difficult and heartbreaking.” The family has called for peace as the public reacts to the videos.

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