September 22, 2021

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What to Know About the Chicago Police Shooting of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo – The New York Times

3 min read

Officials in Chicago released body camera footage on Thursday of a police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy last month, setting off protests over the use of deadly force by police in a city that has been beleaguered by violence.

The boy, Adam Toledo, who was Latino and was a seventh-grader, was one of the youngest people killed by the police in Illinois in years.

The release of the video from the March 29 shooting came during the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, one of the Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing last year.

It also followed the fatal shooting on Sunday of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old motorist, by another officer in Minnesota who has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Here is what we know about the Adam Toledo case.

In the early-morning hours of March 29, two officers had been responding to reports of gunfire when they saw two people in an alley and started to chase them, officials said. Prosecutors have said that Adam was holding a gun when he ran down the alley as an officer called for him to stop and drop the weapon.

In the moment before the shooting, Adam can be seen holding what appears to be a gun behind his back, which he drops behind a wooden fence just before he raises his hands, according to an analysis of the police videos by The New York Times.

In one of the videos, the officer yelled at him to stop. “Stop right now!” the officer screams while cursing, telling him to drop his gun. “Hands. Show me your hands. Drop it. Drop it.”

As Adam turned and lifted his hands, the officer opened fire, striking him once in the chest. The officer can be seen administering CPR on Adam and telling him to “stay with me” as blood poured out of his mouth.

Adam, a seventh grader at Gary Elementary School, had been missing for several days before he finally returned home on the night of March 28, according to his mother, Elizabeth Toledo, who told reporters that she had even previously called the Chicago police to report him missing.

But that Sunday night, she would later tell reporters, she saw him go into the room he shared with his brother. The next day, he was gone. Ms. Toledo later heard from the police: Adam was dead.

“I just want to know what really happened to my baby,” Ms. Toledo said at a news conference on April 2, demanding transparency from law enforcement officials and expressing disbelief that Adam — who, she said, played with Legos and rode bikes with his siblings — would end up in what the police called an “armed confrontation.”

Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, a lawyer representing the Toledo family, said at a news conference on Thursday that the video showed that Adam was attempting to comply with the officer’s orders.

“He tossed the gun,” she said. “If he had a gun, he tossed it. The officer said, ‘Show me your hands.’ He complied. He turned around.”

The officer was identified in police reports as Eric E. Stillman, 34, who is white and whose lawyer said had been placed on administrative duties for 30 days.

The lawyer said that the shooting, while tragic, was justified given the nature of the threat.

“The police officer was put in this split-second situation where he has to make a decision,” said Timothy Grace, a lawyer at the firm of Grace & Thompson retained by the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago.

Rick Rojas, Julie Bosman and Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting.

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