Footage released of 13-year-old boy fatally shot by Chicago police officer

Toledo's family are exploring legal action against the officer that shot him.

Fiona Tan | April 16, 2021, 03:56 PM

A video released publicly on Apr. 15 showed Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Chicago boy, pursued and shot by a policeman, officer Eric Stillman.

In the video, Toledo can be seen with his hands raised less than a second before he was shot in the chest.

From the bodycam footage, the shot was fired nineteen seconds after Stillman exited the police vehicle.

This incident took place at 2:38am on Mar. 29.

Shot fired at Toledo

According to The Chicago Sun-Times, The police were responding to a gunshot detector alert by ShotSpotter, a surveillance tool that detects gunshots.

The police then spotted Toledo and a 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman.

From a separate surveillance video, Roman could earlier be seen firing at a passing vehicle in an area of Little Village.

Toledo and Roman fled the scene and the police proceeded to chase them on foot.

Stillman first catches Roman and passes him off to his partner before continuing to chase Toledo.

In the footage from Stillman's bodycam, the policeman can be seen pursuing Toledo while commanding him to stop.

Toledo eventually slowed down and turned around to face the police, at which point, Stillman demanded to see Toledo's hands and yelled at him to "drop it".

In the midst of repeating his order, Stillman fired at Toledo, whose hands were raised, and did not appear to be holding any firearms.

Screenshot image from Chicago Sun-Times

The boy slumped over and fell to the ground immediately and Stillman approached his body while calling for an ambulance.

Screenshot image from Chicago Sun-Times

Roman faces felony charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and endangerment of a child.

Tossed the gun

In one of the clips, Toledo seemed to have thrown something through a gap to the other side of the fence behind him. Another piece of footage showed an officer discovering a handgun there.

You can view the shooting, and the subsequent arrest and discovery of the handgun here, do take note the video is graphic in nature, and may be disturbing to some.

The Toledo family's attorney, Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, told reporters on Thursday (Apr. 15) that while Toledo could have been holding a gun, it was not "relevant, because he tossed the gun."

As reported by KDRV:

"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 analysed and enhanced," the attorney continued. "But it is not relevant, because he tossed the gun. If he had a gun, he tossed it."

The same report also quoted Timothy Grace, a union lawyer representing Stillman, who acknowledged the case was tragic, but that Stillman was "placed in a situation where he was 'left with no other option.'".

Recordings from ShotSpotter, 911 calls and videos from other bodycams and third-party surveillance equipment were publicly released along with Stillman's bodycam footage on Apr. 15. A slowed down-compilation of the footages had also produced.

They were released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), Chicago's independent police watchdog agency that investigates and reviews all police-involved shootings.

Legal action

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Toledo family are "exploring legal action" against Stillman.

Chicago Tribune, citing the Invisible Institute, said Stillman had been named in three complaints, but had never been disciplined. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Toledo family, through their attorney, called for peace as they laid their son to rest:

“Betty and Marcos Toledo and their family appreciate the outpouring of community support and are especially grateful that the gatherings, vigils and protests have been peaceful,” the statement said.

“It is their fervent prayer that gatherings remain calm and respectful. Peaceful gatherings in this time of pain and suffering testify to the strength and essential goodness of the people of Little Village and the Latino community who recognise that this is a time for grieving and healing, and not for violence or destructive behaviour that would only serve to diminish Adam’s death and compound the family’s pain.”

Top image screenshot from COPA via Chicago Sun-Times