The city of Chicago released bodycam footage of 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s March 29 shooting in which the officer immediately shoots him after the boy puts his hands up. The officer, Eric Stillman, shot Adam less than 20 seconds after the officer got out of his car.
Again, the boy had his hands up, per the cop’s request, and was shot anyway.
Toledo’s family watched the video Tuesday night and asked that it not be immediately released, according to USA Today.
“The experience was extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present and especially for Adam’s family,” family attorneys Adeena Weiss-Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn said in a statement Tuesday night. Thursday morning, the lawyers issued a joint statement with the mayor’s office, saying “both parties agree that all material should be released.”
Protests have already been taken place around the city in anticipation of the Derek Chauvin trial verdict and the recent police shooting of Daunte Wright, both killings that took place in the Twin Cities region in Minnesota. Soon after the bodycam footage of Adam’s shooting was released, those protests rallied around the teenager.
Early on, city officials gave inconsistent statements on what happened the night Adam was killed in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.
Here are a few of them, per USA Today:
According to police, officers were dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood in the early hours of March 29 when the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected eight gunshots. When police arrived, Adam and 21-year-old Ruben Roman fled, authorities said.
An officer shot Adam once in the chest after an “armed confrontation” in an alley, police said. Adam died at the scene.
Lightfoot and other city officials have offered various narratives around whether Adam had a gun or not. Earlier this month, Lightfoot suggested Adam was holding a gun, saying “an adult put a gun in a child’s hand.” And on Saturday, prosecutors alleged Adam was holding a gun when the officer shot him.
But on Thursday, a Sarah Sinovic, chief spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney, said “an attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court. Errors like that cannot happen and this has been addressed with the individual involved. The video speaks for itself.”
As for Stillman, he has four use-of-force reports and three complaints filed against him since 2017, according to Chicago Block Club. His lawyer, Tim Grace, claims Adam was holding a gun at the time he was shot, but the video footage says otherwise. One of the bodycam videos shows that a gun was tossed and found near Adam’s body, but the video shows that it wasn’t in the boy’s hands.
Margarita Gomez was up the night when Adam was killed and saw everything from the beginning, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. She went to her window after hearing gunshots and saw the police car pull up and grab a 21-year-old man who was allegedly with Adam. Then she saw Stillman chasing the boy and shouting at him.
“All I heard was the police officer telling him ‘Hold or I’ll shoot’ and the person was turning around while putting his hands up and the officer shot him,” Gomez said at the time. “He shot him one time—at least, I heard one gunshot.”
From her second floor apartment, Gomez says she saw everything and didn’t believe it was necessary for the cop to kill Adam.
“I feel angry. I feel sad and heartbroken. That boy’s life was stolen from him by that officer,” Gomez said. “Even if the kid had a gun and tossed it, you still shot him with no gun in his hands while he is following your orders.”
Several days after the shooting, a detective went to Gomez’s apartment to get her account of what happened and told her that it was impossible for her to see into the alley where the shooting took place.
Gomez is sticking to her story.
“I don’t care what the cops say.” she told The Sun-Times. “I know what I saw and I’m telling you that boy was shot without a gun in his hand.”