Toledo, a seventh-grader, can be seen in body-camera footage running from Officer Eric Stillman through an alley, then obeying commands to stop and raise his hands. Video from a different angle appears to show Toledo toss a gun behind a fence moments before he was shot.
As the teenager raised his hands, Stillman shot him once in his chest. Toledo does not appear to have been holding a weapon when he was shot, and does not raise, point or fire a weapon at officers. Toledo collapsed into the parking lot after being shot and died at the scene.
“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,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement. “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.”
At least one protest is planned in reaction to the video.
“A 13-year-old boy was murdered by the Chicago Police Department,” leaders from the MacArthur Justice Center said in a statement. “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 shooting, which occurred March 29 in Little Village, has been surrounded with conflicting, vague and shifting details offered by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Supt. David Brown, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A police spokesman initially said there was “an armed confrontation” leading up to Toledo being shot and one of the two “males” on the scene had a gun. A Ruger 9 millimeter was recovered from the scene.
Lightfoot and prosecutors said Toledo was holding a gun when he was shot. Brown has refused to answer questions who had a gun, and a spokesman for COPA has not shed any light on that detail.
Right before the videos were made public, a spokeswoman for the State’s Attorneys Office said the prosecutor was wrong when he said in court Toledo was holding a gun in his right hand when he was shot.
The revelation that Toledo does not appear to be armed and had his arms raised when he was killed infuriated residents and activists, renewing calls to strip funding from and overhaul the Police Department.
“We are outraged and saddened after seeing the video footage of a Chicago police officer shooting and killing a 13-year-old child,” members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus said in a statement. “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.”
Before the video was released, Enlace Director Katya Nuques said, “The neighborhood is going through a difficult time. The sentiment is one of anger.
“We are calling for justice and major reform in the Chicago Police Department, that provides and delivers justice to all of us. We are also asking for peace and systematic reform of the police department in Chicago and across the country. We shouldn’t wait for a tragedy like this to remind us that this is urgent, that we need to do this.”
Illinois Latino Agenda, a coalition of Latino leaders that includes Enlace, echoed the call for police reform.
“We also must commit to substantive, sustained investments in Brown and Black communities. Let’s put a laser focus on creating real futures for young Brown and Black boys,” the group said in a statement.
“While we proactively work to eradicate racist policing, we as a society need to apply the same force to expanding opportunities for young men of color to excel in school, the professional world, and life. By focusing on economic empowerment and police reform in communities like the one where Adam Toledo lived, we create a foundation for success that promotes life and stymies senseless murders that kill youth and devastate our communities.
“Let’s commit to these changes in Adam Toledo’s memory. Let’s do it for this 13-year-old boy, and for every other child of this city. We grieve for him,” the group added.
“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,” ACLU of Illinois said in a statement. “The people of Chicago deserve answers about the events surrounding this tragic interaction. These answers must come through complete disclosure and public reporting, and not through careful assertions crafted by police and prosecutors. Given the long, sad history of the CPD, public accountability must be the guide post for this moment.”
“What happened to Adam Toledo is a tragedy that should never have happened,” State Rep. Chris Welch said. “While I appreciate the release of this video, I can’t imagine what it’s like for Adam’s parents to have to relive their loss. Given that, I hope we can all learn from this heartbreaking event. Adam was a kid who deserved a full, happy life, but the system failed him. That’s what I intend to focus on — not just as a legislator, but as a father. As we work through this tragedy, I plead with everyone to please keep the peace. We all have the right to protest peacefully, but please keep our streets safe so we can focus on fixing the broken system that led to this in the first place.”
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