CHICAGO — First Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Coleman resigned Wednesday following a probe into statements made after the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
Weeks after the controversial shooting, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has revealed what went wrong in a courtroom shortly after when a prosecutor told the court Adam was holding a gun at the exact moment when he was shot and killed by a police officer.
The office blames a break down in its checks and balances for misstatements concerning the Toledo case.
It is unknown if Kim Foxx’s second in command resigned as a result of the handling of the Toledo case. However, the report says Foxx wasn’t aware of exactly what would be said in a related court hearing.
The handling of the police shooting has prominent former politicians and community leaders calling for Foxx’s resignation.
While presenting a case against Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old who was with Adam the night he was killed, prosecutor James Murphy said the 13-year-old was holding a gun when he was shot and it fell behind a fence. Days later, body camera footage was released that appears to show Adam tossing the gun as he raised his hands — it all happened in less than a second before he was shot.
Murphy was suspended but is now back at work. The state’s attorney’s office says an internal investigation showed the prosecutor used sloppy language when describing the events leading up to the shooting and didn’t intend to make it seem like the teen had a gun when he was shot.
The investigation also says proper steps weren’t taken to ensure proper language was used in court.
In a statement the state’s attorney apologized for the frustration and confusion her office caused. She also called the boy’s death a tragedy. The state’s attorney also says prosecutors will go through additional training and that more checks and balances will be implemented.
Former federal prosecutor Duane Deskins said the case highlights the need for effective training.
“It’s crystal clear that the young man was killed by a police officer with a gun he was provided by Mr. Roman. End of story. You don’t need to get into whether he tossed it before or after,” he said.
As part of the fallout, Foxx’s office announced attorneys will undergoing training about presenting facts in court and additional procedures will be implemented to ensure proper checks and balances.
“The responsibility for the prosecutor’s office is not the first assistant, the prosecutor’s office is run by the prosecutor elected by the people, and if a mistake was made, the buck stops with the person at the top,” Deskins said.
As far as the resignation goes, Coleman has been on the job for less than a year and was Foxx’s first assistant.
Sources in Foxx’s office said Coleman is a well-respected attorney. But a breakdown in oversight and communication led to misleading court statement.