Protests Erupt in Chicago After Release of Video Showing Cop Fatally Shooting 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo

Protests Erupt in Chicago Over Police Shooting of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo
Authorities have released body cam footage of boy being killed by Chicago police.Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability

The disturbing bodycam video shows a police officer firing a single round into the chest of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, killing him.

Protests erupted in Chicago following the public release of graphic and grainy bodycam video showing an officer shooting to death 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the boy's family called the jerky, fast-moving footage "incredibly painful" to watch. At a joint press conference Thursday, the mayor said, "I have seen those videos and let me just say that they are incredibly difficult to watch, particularly at the end," she said.

"Simply put, we failed Adam, and we cannot afford to fail one more young person in our city," Lightfoot said.   

Toledo's relatives and their attorney joined Lightfoot. Lawyer Adeena Weiss-Ortiz told reporters, "At the time Adam was shot, he did not have a gun. OK?

"In that slo-mo version (of one of the videos), whatever he had in his, in his hand, whether it was a gun or something else ... he approaches the fence, he lets it go, he turns around, and he's shot."

Footage made public by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the police oversight agency investigating the shooting, appears to show the boy holding up empty hands. It was was released with other materials two days after Adam's family was shown the footage, and 17 days after the shooting, which occurred in the wee hours of March 29.

Police also released images of a handgun close to where Toledo collapsed, and law enforcement officials said the boy had been carrying the gun when police began chasing him down a dark alley.

Officers were responding to a report of shots fired when they encountered two people in an alley, authorities said. The officer who shot Toledo was identified as 34-year-old Eric Stillman, who can be heard screaming and cursing as he ran after the boy.

Stillman repeatedly shouts "stop!" and then says "show me your f***ing hands." Seconds later, a single shot rings out and Toledo collapses on the pavement. Officers are then heard calling for a medical kit as they tried to revive him. "Stay with me," says an officer.

The boy's attorney, and the mayor, said the video shows that Toledo didn't fire at officers and had nothing in his hands as he turned and faced Stillman. 

“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,” said Weiss-Ortiz.

Protesters filled Chicago city streets Thursday night in peaceful demonstrations, calling for justice in the fatal shooting.

Ruben Roman, a 21-year old man with Toledo when officers arrived at the scene, was arrested and later charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm, felony unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, felony endangerment of a child, and a probation violation warrant.

Ruben is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail. His next court hearing is scheduled for Monday. 

A police union attorney representing Stillman called the case "tragic" but said his client was "left with no other option."

Lawyer Timothy Grace said, "the juvenile had a handgun in his right hand, given verbal direction, told to drop and stop and to adhere to the police officer's valid, lawful orders and the juvenile begins to turn," he said. "At that point (Stillman) has no cover, no concealment, he's left with no other option.

"He feels horrible about the outcome. He feels horrible he had to use deadly force," said Grace. "No police officer wants to use deadly force in the line of duty. He was well within his justification of using deadly force, he just feels horrible."

Stillman, a patrol officer who joined the department in 2015, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.