(CHICAGO) — Body camera footage of the fatal Chicago police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo was released Thursday by the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The March 29 footage shows an unidentified officer chasing Toledo down a street. The officer yells, “Police! Stop. Stop right f—ing now. Hands — show me your f—ing hands now. Drop it!” As the officer tells Toledo to “drop it” again, Toledo puts both of his hands up, and the officer shoots the teen in the chest.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy initially claimed that Toledo had a gun in his hands, but Cook County State’s Attorney spokesperson Sarah Sinovic later told ABC News that Murphy “failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court” and that “the video speaks for itself.”
“When Adam was told the directive by that officer — ‘Hands, show me your hands’ — Adam surrendered, obeyed the directive, turned to the officer with his hands in the air, empty at the time that he was shot,” Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, the family’s attorney, told ABC News in an interview Thursday evening.
“Officers cannot point the gun and kill a child who is unarmed and surrenders to that officer,” she added.
Earlier at a Thursday press conference about the body camera footage, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would not say whether Toledo had a gun in his hand, but she did confirm that Toledo did not shoot at any of the officers.
Police were dispatched just before 3 a.m. after the department’s ShotSpotter detected gunshots on the city’s West Side in the early hours of the morning. A ShotSpotter is a gun detection system with sensors that can identify and alert officials of potential gunshots.
Police then encountered two male subjects: Toledo and a 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman. When the two ran, officers pursued them.
Roman was arrested on felony charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and child endangerment.
Lightfoot gave a press conference to send condolences to Toledo’s family and promise a change in Chicago policing.
“We can’t afford to lose more lives. As mayor, I know that we must do more to help children like Adam before they end up in encounters like this one,” Lightfoot said.
She added that she will seek to reform the current police policy on foot pursuits, but did not specify what policy.
“Foot pursuits put everyone involved at risk: officers, the person being pursued and bystanders. We have to do better,” Lightfoot said.
COPA agreed to hold the release of the video at the request of Toledo’s family, who saw the footage on Tuesday. A statement from the law firm representing the family said the “experience was extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present and especially for Adam’s family.”
“As you can imagine, it was extremely difficult for them to view the final moments of their son’s passing at the hands of this officer,” Weiss-Ortiz told ABC News.
“When the point in the video came, when the officer shot Adam, mom gasped,” she continued. “She began breaking down, crying, as well as the father, began breaking down, crying, and the eldest son was consoling his father and the eldest daughter was consoling her mother. I think more tragic was watching the life slowly leave Adam’s body during the efforts to revive.”
City policy requires that body cam footage be released within 60 days of an incident. COPA also released third-party video of the incident, ShotSpotter recordings, Office of Emergency Management and Communications transmissions, as well as use-of-force and arrest reports.
The Toledo family’s lawyers said they are conducting an investigation of their own into his death.
“We are continuing to conduct our own investigation as we seek justice for Adam and his family,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We are meeting with representatives of the city of Chicago and will have no further comment on the facts in the case at this time.”
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