Chicago police said Thursday that body-worn camera footage released by authorities shows less than a second passed from when 13-year-old Adam Toledo is seen holding a handgun and an officer fires a single, fatal shot that hits him in the chest.
The videos were released by Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which reviews incidents where an officer fires their department issued handgun.
Nearly two minutes into footage from the body camera of the officer who fired the shot, the officer can be heard repeatedly shouting at Toledo to “stop,” and then “to show me your f**king hands.”
At the video’s 2:04-minute mark, Toledo can be seen with something in his right hand as the officer yells again for him to “stop” before firing his weapon once.
Police say what was in Toledo’s hand is a gun that was later recovered from behind the fence.
Toledo was struck in the chest and later died from his wounds.
The lawyer for Toledo’s family said Thursday the 13-year-old did not have a gun his hand when he was shot and that he followed the officer’s commands in his final moments.
“Adam, during his last second of life did not have a gun in his hand,” Adeena Weiss-Ortiz said. “The officer screamed at him, ‘show me your hands,’ Adam complied, turned around, his hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer.”
“He did not have a gun in his hand, contrary to the reports made earlier today,” Weiss-Ortiz added.
Asked if Toledo had a gun at any point during the incident in the alley that led to the fatal shooting, Weiss-Ortiz said, “At the time Adam was shot, he did not have a gun. Okay?”
“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, there was something in his hand, he approaches the fence, he lets it go, he turns around, and he’s shot,” Weiss-Ortiz said.
“It could be a gun. I’m not going to deny that, that it could be a gun, but I can’t tell you with 100% certainty, until I have that video forensically analyzed and enhanced,” the attorney continued. “But it is not relevant, because he tossed the gun. If he had a gun, he tossed it.”
The attorney said the family is currently exploring their next steps and did not rule out potential legal action against the officer or the City of Chicago.
21-year-old arrested, charged
The incident took place after officers responded to an alert of shots fired on March 29 in a neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. The initial gun shots were detected by ShotSpotter audio, gunfire detection technology that is used by the city.
Video shows that officers arrived to find Toledo and a 21-year-old man walking in an alley. Officers approach the two, and Toledo starts running down the alley.
The 21-year-old who was with Toledo was identified by authorities as Ruben Roman. He 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.
Video appears to show the officer who shoots Toledo make a quick pat of Roman’s waist before continuing to pursue Toledo. The first few seconds of footage doesn’t contain audio, but when the audio starts the officer can be heard ordering Toledo to show him his hands.
The footage shows the officer close the distance with Toledo before getting to the end of the block. They get to a fence when police say Toledo is seen with a gun in his right hand. Toledo turns toward the officer and the officer fires the shot.
Police say the footage shows less than one second passes between the time when Toledo is seen with a gun and the officer fires a shot.
According to a Chicago police department source familiar with the investigation, the flashlight that can be seen on the officer’s body-worn camera footage is mounted to his gun and is trained on Toledo as the pursuit ends near a fence, and the officer had his gun drawn during the chase because they were responding to the sound of gunfire as picked up by the city’s gunfire detection technology.
The officer requested an ambulance and notified his dispatcher and other officers on the radio that he had fired his gun.
According to prosecutors, an investigation determined that Roman fired eight shots from the weapon. Two Chicago police officers responded in less than a minute after the shots were fired and proceeded to chase the two into an alley.
Roman was detained on the ground and dropped a pair of red gloves, which tested positive for gunshot residue, prosecutors said.
As part of the investigation, prosecutors said Toledo’s right hand tested positive for gunshot residue and a Ruger 9MM semi-automatic pistol was recovered near the fence where Toledo was killed.
Mayor: Videos are ‘incredibly difficult to watch’
In a news conference Thursday ahead of the video’s release, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had seen the videos and they are “incredibly difficult to watch.”
“As a mom, this is not something you want children to see,” Lightfoot said.
In her news conference, Mayor Lightfoot said there was no evidence in the footage she reviewed that Adam shot at officers.
“I don’t want to get into the real substance of this because the independent investigation is going on, but I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at the police,” Lightfoot said.
Officers immediately tried to render aid after the shooting, she said.
In a joint statement Thursday, the mayor’s office and the attorneys for Adam’s family said they met Wednesday and “both parties agree that all material should be released, including a slowed-down compilation of the events” that resulted in Adam’s death.
“We acknowledge that the release of this video is the first step in the process toward the healing of the family, the community and our city,” the joint statement said. “We understand that the release of this video will be incredibly painful and elicit an emotional response to all who view it, and we ask that people express themselves peacefully.”
The boy’s family saw the video on Tuesday and asked that the video and other evidence not be immediately released to the public, according to a statement this week from COPA, which investigates all police shootings.
“COPA has remained sensitive to the family’s grief and is carrying out this release in accordance with the City’s Video Release Policy,” it said in a statement Wednesday.
“COPA’s core values of integrity and transparency are essential to building public trust, particularly in incidents related to an officer involved shooting, and we are unwavering in our commitment to uphold these values.”
Lightfoot and community leaders called on any demonstrators to protest peacefully following the video’s release.
The release of the footage comes as the nation is once again focused on unrest in the Minneapolis area, where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for killing George Floyd, and where protests have broken out after the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on Sunday.
Asked Wednesday if she would prefer for the video to be released after Chauvin’s trial, the mayor said that was “not really part of the calculus.”
“This is about being respectful and balancing the need for transparency with this grieving family that is having an extraordinarily difficult time.”
Ahead of the video’s release, the Chicago Police Department issued a new order to its officers governing some conduct at protests.
According to the new order, officers will not “disrupt, intimidate, harass, or discriminate against, or arrest,” “make comments about the views,” “use force as punishment or retaliation,” “hinder or prevent members of the public from recording Department members,” or “interrogate or otherwise question participants concerning their views” during First Amendment demonstrations, except in very limited circumstances.
Taken together, the two orders restrict interactions between police and protesters exercising First Amendment rights but orders them to distinguish between those and “disruptive, violent, criminal, or riotous behavior of members of the crowd.”
Police can still order dispersal, make arrests and use pepper spray in cases where certain conditions are met.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article should have attributed to Chicago police that body-worn camera footage released by authorities shows that less than a second passed from when a 13-year-old boy is seen holding a handgun and an officer fires a single, fatal shot that hits him in the chest.