A group of Latino lawyers on Tuesday called for the Department of Justice to investigate the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer.
The group, which includes the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the Pilsen Law Center, called on the DOJ to investigate the “circumstances that led to and resulted” in Adam’s death. The group also pushed for stronger policies regarding foot pursuit and car chases, clearer training guidelines, and more guidelines on police interactions with children.
“Faith and trust in the police department are in short supply in the Latino community,” said Pilsen Law Center founder Arturo Jáuregui at a Tuesday news conference. “An objective investigation conducted by the Justice Department would send a message to our community that this time is different.”
He added: “We cannot trust the police department to investigate itself. It just doesn’t work.”
Jáuregui also asked Mayor Lori Lightfoot to invest federal COVID-19 dollars to help Latino youth in Adam’s neighborhood. He suggested adding 300 more counselors and 500 more social workers to schools to support Latino youth, who he said have been “traumatized” by police shootings.
Jáuregui called for an $80 million investment into the Little Village neighborhood where Adam, a 13-year-old of Mexican descent, lived and died.
“We cannot wait another month,” Jáuregui said. “We cannot wait another year.”
Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old man police say was with Adam the night he was shot, has been released from Cook County Jail after posting $40,000 bond on Saturday. He is now on electronic monitoring.
During the press conference, Chicago Alderman Michael Rodriguez said “the federal government should step in” to investigate. He praised the coalition of lawyers and community leaders for emphasizing the need to invest more resources in Chicago’s predominantly Latino schools and communities.
“These leaders are calling for increased investments in our communities so that Adam Toledos prosper in our city, prosper in our neighborhoods,” Rodriguez said.
Earlier this month, Lightfoot called called for a “thorough, expeditious” investigation into the shooting and for changes to Chicago police foot pursuit policies, saying such pursuits are one of the most dangerous activities police engage in because they are often separated from their partners and communication becomes difficult. She said there will be focus groups of officers and community members to evaluate best practices.
“We cannot and will not push the foot pursuit reform off for another day,” Lightfoot said at a news conference. “No longer can we afford to put off to tomorrow what we can address today, because lives are truly at stake.”
Mayor responds:Chicago mayor calls for reform after 13-year-old Adam Toledo shot dead by police
Chicago agreed to hundreds of changes in policing under a 2019 decree after a Department of Justice investigation found a decades-long record of racism and abuse by Chicago police. The 2014 police killing of Laquan McDonald, a Black teen, prompted the investigation. The city fought to suppress footage of the shooting, which later led to Jason Van Dyke, a white officer, being convicted of murder for shooting McDonald 16 times.
The Pilsen Law Center called the police shooting of Adam Toledo “yet another reminder to our community that much critical work remains to be done to prevent use of lethal force through polices focusing on community outreach and police training,” according to an April 15 statement.
Chicago protests:Over 1,000 in Chicago gather to remember Adam Toledo
At Roman’s bail hearing Saturday, prosecutors said surveillance video shows Roman firing the shots that brought police to the scene. Roman faces felony charges of unlawful use and reckless discharge of a firearm, as well as child endangerment and violating probation.
The relationship between Adam and Roman is unclear.
What we know:Outcry grows as police officer in Adam Toledo shooting is identified as Eric Stillman
Disturbing videos released last Thursday showed an officer, later identified as Eric Stillman, chase Adam, who appeared to slow down and toss a gun behind a fence before he turned toward Stillman, who is white, with his hands up. The video cast doubt on prior accounts from police and city officials describing the incident as an “armed confrontation.”
The footage sparked outrage and protest in the city, including a demonstration of over 1,000 protestors last Friday.
Contributing: The Associated Press.