Police Abuse

Body Camera Footage Shows a Chicago Cop Shooting a 13-Year-Old Boy Who Had His Hands Up

Prosecutors initially suggested that the boy had a gun in his hand, but the government walked that back today.

|


Body camera footage released Thursday shows a Chicago police officer shooting a 13-year-old boy who appeared to have his hands up. The victim, identified as Adam Toledo, was killed on March 29.

"Hey, show me your fucking hands!" the officer yells as he chases the teen down an alley. Toledo complies and is then shot. "Look at me, look at me. You all right?" the officer says. Toledo was later pronounced dead.

The video, embedded below, is graphic.

Early that Monday morning, police were called to address eight gun shots—detected by the Chicago Police Department's ShotSpotter technology—that went off in the Little Village neighborhood. Ruben Roman, 21, was seen on surveillance firing the rounds; when police arrived, Roman was arrested while Toledo fled.

Prosecutors initially suggested Toledo had a gun in his hand when the officer shot him, but the state's attorney's office walked that back today.

"An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court," said Sarah Sinovic, a spokesperson for the Cook County state's attorney, according to Chicago's WGN-TV. In a bond hearing for Roman, that attorney erroneously claimed that the cop told Toledo "to drop it as [Toledo] turns towards the officer. [Toledo] has a gun in his right hand." That isn't what the body camera footage implies: A slowly rendered version of the clip shows Toledo dropping a gun and raising both of his hands in the air, after which point he was shot in the chest.*

In a press conference, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that "there is no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at the police." She added that the officer "sprang into action to try to revive" the boy, and she asked for the city to remain calm.

The shooting follows Sunday's fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. In that case, Officer Kim Potter says she mistook her taser for her gun before delivering the fatal shot. She immediately resigned and now faces second-degree manslaughter charges.

In 2020, 55 unarmed people were shot and killed by police, according to The Washington Post.

*CORRECTION: The original version of this article did not mention that Toledo dropped a gun prior to raising his hands, which was reported by Chicago's WGN-TV after publication.