Chicago police detail deadly shooting of 13-year-old boy as mayor calls for foot chase policy change

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a foot pursuit policy change to the Chicago Police Department after the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy in Little Village by CPD one week ago Monday.

Police said they found Adam Toledo in an alley in the 2400 block of South Sawyer Avenue before opening fire. His mother was not notified of his death until two days later and police did not announce Toledo was 13-years-old until three days after the shooting.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it will release the police body-cam video after initially saying they would not, citing juvenile privacy laws.

In a Monday press conference, Mayor Lightfoot said she is waiting to watch the video until Toledo’s mother sees it.

“Let us not forget that a mother’s child is dead,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown gave an account Monday of what he called “the facts of the case.”

Brown said ShotSpotter detected eight shots around 2:30 a.m. Toledo was in an alley with a 21-year-old man, who was later arrested for resisting arrest.

The superintendent said it took so long to identify Toledo because the man who he was with gave police a fake name. Authorities fingerprinted Toledo three times, but none of those prints were in any database.

“We lost considerable time trying to ID Adam because of the wrong name. We fingerprinted the deceased three times and there were no matching records in any database,” Supt. Brown said.

That’s when police started looking through missing person reports. Sure enough, Toledo was in one of those case files. The 13-year-old had gone missing, but the case was closed because he had recently returned home.

“This is a tragedy, the most tragic of circumstances,” Supt. Brown said. “Let’s not make it worse by rushing to judgment.”

Lightfoot said she refuses to treat the incident as business as usual and is calling for a reform of the city’s foot pursuit policy.

In February, Chicago police sent a training bulletin to officers regarding foot pursuits. In it, they said “department members will engage in a foot pursuit only when they have reasonable articulable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop or probable cause to arrest.”

“Every loss of life in our city is tragic and here involving a 13-year-old boy evokes even more pain and sorrow,” she said.

She wants a new policy in place before the summer begins. Just last week, Chicago’s consent decree independent monitor found that from March through December of 2020, 29 percent of foot pursuits resulted in use of force.

Light also said she’s determined to find out who gave Toledo a gun.

“I am determined. We will find the person who put this gun in Adam’s hand. We will not be deterred by threats from gang members,” she said. “An adult must be responsible for putting that gun in a child’s hand.”

Little Village residents held a community vigil for Toledo on Monday night. Mother Elizabeth Toledo was not in attendance, but her attorney said in a statement that family believes he is being unfairly characterized.

Several balloons were released for Toledo following the speakers.

Supt. Brown said he has seen the video in this case and is waiting to see what COPA recommends. He will then have 90 days to either accept it or reject it.

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