CHICAGO – Reaction has been swift following the release of body cam footage that shows a 13-year-old boy with his hands raised less than a second before a Chicago police officer fatally shot him last month in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side.
Video footage of the shooting, released Thursday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, shows a CPD officer shooting Adam Toledo once in the chest around 2:30 a.m. on March 29 in the alley of the 2300 block of South Spaulding.
Adam was shot after he and another man, 21-year-old Ruben Roman, ran away from police. Officers initially responded to the area following a report of gunfire.
Adam Toledo’s family lawyer Adeena J. Weiss-Ortiz says the video “speaks for itself.”
“Adam, during his last wind of life, did not have a gun in his hands after the officer screamed at him, ‘show me your hands,’” she said. “Adam complied, turned around, his hands were empty when the officer shot him.”
She says Toledo, who was one of five siblings, may have possibly had a gun in his possession earlier in the night but denied that he possessed one in his hands when a CPD officer opened fire.
The shooting has drawn comments about why a 13-year-old was out at 2:30 a.m. Weiss-Ortiz says the circumstances don’t matter, pointing out that Toledo was unarmed when he was shot.
“A lot of people have asked about that, but I don’t think it matters whether he’s a choir boy or involved in any activity,” she said. “The fact is, he was shot, unarmed. That could have been me, my son, or any one of us in that alley that evening.”
As to why Toledo was out with 21-year-old Ruben Roman, WGN has learned that he was unknown to the Toledo family.
Governor Pritzker released a statement in the aftermath of the video’s release. Pritzker said in part: “As a father, I know to my core that Adam Toledo’s family is living a parent’s worst nightmare. My heart goes out to all who love him.”
“Parents deserve neighborhoods that will nurture their kids. Children deserve to be safe. Communities deserve to live with hope for the future.
Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old child, was shot to death. This is a moment that calls for justice for our children and accountability in all our public institutions.
The State of Illinois is committed to this work, whether it is transforming our justice system or investing in communities to create durable and long-term progress.”
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton also addressed the video, saying that the “trauma is real on many levels.”
“As a mother — as a human being — my heart goes out to his mother, father, and loved ones. I’m thinking of his classmates, the Little Village community, all who are feeling this grief.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke Thursday afternoon ahead of the release of video that shows the fatal shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
RELATED: Emotional Lightfoot calls for peace as COPA releases Toldeo footage
“No parent should ever have a video broadcast widely of their child’s last moments,” Lightfoot said.
Office of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle called for “justice and accountability” in the shooting she labeled as a “tragedy.”
My thoughts right now are on a 13-year-old child who should still be with us. Adam Toledo. I grieve with his family and loved ones who mourn the unimaginable. My heart breaks as I think of my own children, grandchildren, and former students. Let us pray for peace, which, I must admit, even I cannot find in this moment and every single time a person of color is killed by an officer. There are far too many of these times now. Adam Toledo was just a child and should still be alive. We must demand justice and accountability for this tragedy and address the law enforcement system that have allowed this to happen time and time again.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said in part: “In the midst of the trial of Derek Chauvin and the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, Chicago has come to face the shocking fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. He was a seventh-grader at Gary Elementary School in Little Village with his whole life ahead of him. My heart breaks for his family and friends, who are grieving the loss of his young life.”
“Everything about Adam’s death is horrifying,” said Senate President Don Harmon. “As a parent, I can’t imagine having to watch a video like this.
“This has to stop.”
Speaking on the release of the video, a statement from the MacArthur Justice Center read, in part: “A 13-year-old boy was murdered by the Chicago Police Department. The state-sanctioned shooting of a child is not only unimaginably tragic, but a reflection of how Black and Latinx people and communities are policed in this city, every day.”
The ACLU of Illinois says “The release of the body camera footage and other materials by Chicago police today cannot obscure one, central fact: a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by those sworn to protect and serve our community. The video released today shows that police shot Adam Toledo even though his hands were raised in the air. The pain of seeing this footage only adds to the pain and grief experienced by the Toledo family and the community. We join all those mourning this loss of life.”
Members of the Chicago Progressive Caucus say they remain focused on correcting the systemic issues which led to Adam’s death.
“We are outraged and saddened after seeing the video footage of a Chicago police officer shooting and killing a 13-year-old child. “A statement read. “Our sincerest condolences go to Adam’s family and community. We know that Adam’s life was precious, that he was loved, and that our city can and must do so much more for our youth. As we grapple with the trial of Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Daunte Wright, and now the killing of Adam Toledo, it is incumbent upon us to reimagine policing and our approach to public safety.”
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