CHICAGO – Outcry is growing after disturbing footage was released Thursday of police shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo who appeared to have his hands up, casting doubt on prior accounts from police and city officials of what had happened during the incident.
The officer who fatally shot Adam last month was also identified Thursday as Eric Stillman.
Adam is seen in the body-worn camera footage turning and facing an officer who fires within a second. Surveillance video filmed from across a parking lot, also released Thursday, shows Adam tossing what appeared to be a gun behind the fence.
“Simply put, we failed Adam, and we cannot afford to fail one more young person in our city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday.
Lightfoot called for calm and peace and asked Chicagoans to “reserve judgment” and “wait until we hear all the facts.”
More on Adam Toledo case:Body camera videos show 13-year-old Adam Toledo put hands up before fatal police shooting
Thursday, a handful of protestors gathered in front of Cloud Gate in downtown Millennium Park hours after the footage was released. Behind them were two banners: one with the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and the other with the words “DEFUND THE POLICE.”
While the demonstrations were not widespread in the city, more protests and vigils were being planned Friday.
The video of the shooting comes as the country remains on edge amid the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd and after a police officer in Minnesota fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday.
Here’s what we know Friday:
What do the Adam Toledo videos show and what do we know about the gun?
Officers were responding to the Little Village neighborhood in the early hours of March 29 when Adam and 21-year-old Ruben Roman fled.
According to one officer’s bodycam video, he pulls up in a car, gets out, pushes past another man and runs down an alley shouting “stop” toward Adam, who is dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt and white baseball cap.
Adam runs away from the officer, a 34-year-old white man identified as Eric Stillman, then slows down and pauses near a fence, behind which the other surveillance video shows Adam throwing the gun.
Stillman shouts for Adam to “stop it” or “drop it.” Adam turned toward the officer and put his hands up. The footage is grainy, but he did not appear to have a gun in either hand at that moment. Stillman fired his weapon less than a second after Adam turned around to face him with his hands raised.
Adam clutched his chest and fell to the ground, and the officer got on his radio and said, “Get an ambulance here now.”
Stillman shouted for more help as Adam was beneath him, his eyes open and bleeding from the mouth and chest. “Stay with me,” the officer said. About a minute after firing, he told other officers he couldn’t feel a heartbeat and began chest compressions.
After attempting medical aid, Stillman stood up and paced. At least half a dozen other officers arrived. As he walked to the fence where Adam had been standing, the officer shined a light on what looks to be the gun leaning against the fence.
Who is officer Eric Stillman?
Eric Stillman was identified Thursday as the officer who shot Adam. He has been placed on administrative leave for 30 days. Stillman is a 10th district patrol officer and has been with the department since August 2015, according to case incident report.
Three complaints and four use of force reports have been filed against Stillman between 2017 and mid-2020, according to the Invisible Institute, which records police interactions with the public. Among the allegations filed by citizens were two that claimed improper searches of cars, and use-of-force violations. However, information on the disposition of those cases is unclear from the records.
The city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates cases of potential police misconduct, released 17 bodycam videos, four third-party videos, a transmission from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, two audio recordings of 911 calls, six ShotSpotter recordings, as well as response and arrest reports.
Police and city officials previously released accounts of what happened during the shooting that conflict with what the videos appear to show.
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Earlier this month, Lightfoot suggested Adam was holding a gun, saying “an adult put a gun in a child’s hand.” Saturday, prosecutors alleged Adam was holding a gun when the officer shot him.
Lightfoot on Thursday changed her phrasing, saying Adam was “a child who was in contact with an adult who had a gun.” Asked whether Adam shot at an officer, she said: “I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at the police.”
Sarah Sinovic, chief spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney, said the attorney who made the comment “failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court.”
Police also previously said an officer shot Adam once in the chest after an “armed confrontation.”
Officers were responding to reports of shots fired. Roman can be seen on surveillance video firing the rounds that brought police to the scene before he and Adam fled. As Roman was arrested, another officer chased Adam.
Who was Adam Toledo?
Adam was a “loved and supported 13-year-old boy” from a “close-knit family,” the family said in a statement through lawyers earlier this month. He lived with his mother, his 90-year-old grandfather and two of his siblings, and his father was in his life, the statement said.
He attended Gary Elementary School, where he had the support of his teachers and his classmates, the statement said. According to Chicago Public Schools, Gary is a high-rated school serving more than 900 students from third through eighth grade. Nearly 98% of students are Hispanic, and 95% are low income.
Adam’s family was shown the video of their son’s death but asked it not be immediately released to the public.
“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.”
“No one should have a video broadcast widely of their child’s last moments, much less be placed in the terrible situation of losing their child in the first place,” Lightfoot said during Thursday’s news conference.
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