May 8, 2021

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A Chicago police watchdog group released body camera footage on Thursday that showed an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Last month, a Chicago police officer chased Toledo down an alley after responding to a call of shots fired, and saw what appeared to be a gun in his hand, reports NBC News. After the officer yelled “police, stop,” Toledo turned and raised his hands, neither of which appeared to be holding a weapon, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Less than one second later, footage made public by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows, the officer, identified as Eric Stillman, shot Toledo in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teen’s family, who viewed the video before it was made public, said it was “extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present” to watch. John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer was justified because Toledo “still turned with a gun in his hand.”

Before the footage was released, Stillman had reported that Toledo “did not follow verbal commands, fled, posed an imminent threat, used force likely to cause death or great bodily harm, and that he was armed with a semi-automatic pistol,” reports BuzzFeed News, writing that some of those claims “do not appear to be borne out by the body worn video.”

Prosecutors previously said Toledo turned toward the officer with a gun in his hand, but shortly before the video was released, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said the attorney who asserted that “failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court,” per BuzzFeed.

Toledo’s death has already sparked protests in Chicago, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday urged calm as COPA completes further investigation. Stillman has been placed on administrative duties for 30 days.

Read more at the Chicago Sun-Times and BuzzFeed News. Summer Meza

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