Adam Toledo shooting body cam video released: Chicago police officer is shown making split second decision whether to shoot fleeing teen boy with gun. Was police shooting justified?
‘Will they shoot me dead?’… A police watchdog agency on Thursday released ‘distressing’ video showing a Chicago police officer making a split-second decision to shoot a fleeing teen boy after seeing what appeared to be a gun in the hand of the child — whose arms were raised when he was shot and killed.
Police have said they found a gun at the scene of the shooting and that it was the weapon 13-year-old victim, Adam Toledo was holding. The bodycam video doesn’t show Adam throwing away the weapon before he was shot.
When his hands were raised, he didn’t appear to be holding a weapon. Another video shows Adam apparently throwing something through a gap on the other side of the fence, and police video shows officers’ discovering a gun at that spot.
The officer’s body camera shows the officer chasing Adam down an alley in Little Village at about 2:38 a.m. on March 29.
The officer yells ‘police, stop’ and then orders the teen suspect to show his hands. The video shows Adam standing in a large gap in a wooden fence with his side to his officer and what appears to be a gun behind his back.
Adam Toledo had no gun in his hand. He put his hands up and was shot immediately after doing what he was told. 13 years old. pic.twitter.com/VOBnimoglN
— Savvy☭ (@sleepisocialist) April 15, 2021
Was he 100% right?
In less than 0.85 seconds from that moment, the officer shot Adam, whose hands are raised almost to his shoulders. He crumples to the ground and another officer immediately calls for an ambulance.
The Chicago Police Department gave reporters an advance look at the video before the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released it to the public. One version of the video was played in slow motion.
John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer was justified. ‘He was 100% right,’ Catanzara said. ‘The offender still turned with a gun in his hand. This occurred in eight-tenths of a second.’
But the video likely will raise additional questions, because Adam’s hands were in the air at the moment he was shot, and he no longer appears to have a gun.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which reviews police shootings to determine if they comply with police policy and state law, hasn’t issued any findings in Adam’s death according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Adam’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo, had viewed the video Monday at the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. She asked the agency to withhold the video from the public, but the agency said it was legally obligated to release it.
Toledo didn’t comment to reporters after she saw the video, but a lawyer for the family said the experience was ‘difficult and heartbreaking’ and called for calm ahead of expected demonstrations following the release of the video. The family says it’s conducting its own investigation.
If you’re like me, and refuse to watch the video of 13 year old Adam Toledo being murdered by Chicago police this is all you need to know:
1. His hands were up and empty
2. He was shot in the chest, which was exposed because his hands were up and empty.
This system killed him.
— eva maria (@imyagirleva) April 15, 2021
Another systemic victim
The un-named officer, 34, who shot Adam had joined the force in 2015, according to police sources.
The Invisible Institute, a website that tracks police discipline, doesn’t show any complaints against the officer. He’s a recipient of the superintendent’s award of valor and has a military background, according to the site. To date the officer hasn’t been officially accused of wrongdoing, cited or facing sanctions.
Adam was killed after officers responded to a ShotSpotter gunshot detector alert and saw two people in an alley in the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue, authorities say.
Police have said only that Adam was in an ‘armed confrontation’ with an officer. They also released a photo of a handgun they say he was carrying.
In the weeks since Adam was killed, the Chicago Police Department has been on alert for possible retaliation by the Latin Kings street gang against police officers, according to department documents and sources. The area where Adam was shot is considered to be a Latin Kings stronghold.
According to prosecutors, Adam was hanging out with a 21-year-old who was on probation for a gun offense. That man, Ruben Roman, is now charged with child endangerment, reckless discharge of a firearm and illegal gun possession in the incident.
At a court hearing for Roman on Saturday, a prosecutor said officers were responding to a gunshot detector that went off because Roman was shooting at a passing car. During a foot chase, Roman dropped red gloves, and tests determined they were covered with gunshot residue, the prosecutor said. Adam had gunshot residue on his right hand, the prosecutor said.
The March 29.shooting has since 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.
According to a database of people killed by police in the US maintained by the Washington Post, there have been 262 deaths from police shootings so far in 2021.