By Brendan O'Brien
Chicago officials on Thursday released to the public a graphic body-camera video showing a policeman shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy while he appeared to be raising his hands in an alley.
The nine-minute video from Chicago officer Eric Stillman's body camera showed the 34-year-old white policeman getting out of his squad car and running after Adam Toledo in an alley at 2:30 am on 29 March in Little Village, a Mexican neighbourhood on the city's West Side.
The video then showed Stillman yelling "stop" to Toledo before he caught up to him and ordered him to show him his hands. Toledo appeared to raise his hands right before Stillman fired one shot and then immediately ran to the boy as he fell to the ground.
"Shots fired, shots fired. Get an ambulance over here now," the policeman is heard saying in the video.
"Stay with me, stay with me," Stillman said. "Somebody bring the medical kit now!"
The Chicago Police Department said immediately following the incident that Toledo had a gun in his hand.
The department released part of the same video on its website on Thursday. On it, the department placed an arrow on a still frame, pointing to what appeared to be a handgun in Toledo's right hand before Stillman opened fire.
"838 milliseconds between gun shown in hand and single shot," the police department said in a caption.
An attorney for the family, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, said during a news conference after the release of the video that Toledo complied with Stillman's orders, dropped his weapon and turned around before the officer opened fire.
"I don't know if the officer had enough time or not. All I know is the officer is trained to not shoot an unarmed individual," she said.
Ortiz also said the Toledo family found some solace and comfort to see the video of their son in his last moments.
"They want justice for Adam, whatever that may entail," she said. "This is a very close, tight-knit Hispanic family. All of those who lived with him adored this child."
About 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the video, the officer shines a flashlight on a handgun feet from where officers worked frantically to save Toledo's life, giving him CPR.
Officers were chasing Toledo and a 21-year-old man after they received notification of eight shots fired in the area, the department said. The other man was arrested.
"There were a number of forces that met up at two-thirty in the morning on March 29 in an alley, and, simply put, we failed Adam," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a news conference before the video was released.
The city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability also released some 33 data files, including other police body camera videos, footage from nearby security cameras and documents related to the incident. One of the documents identified Stillman, who has been on the force for six years, as the officer who shot and killed Toledo.
The incident, along with Sunday's fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb and the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, has raised tensions in Chicago.
"Chicago, as well as way too many parts of our country, has a long legacy of police violence and police misconduct that have left far too many residents, especially those who are Black and brown, in a constant state of fear and pain," Lightfoot said.
City officials urged people to remain calm as they prepared for civil unrest following the release of the video footage. They said more police officers and city equipment would be in place to protect businesses during any unrest.
Like some other American cities, Chicago experienced riots and looting after Floyd's death, which was also caught on video.
Toledo's family said in a statement released to local media that they appreciated the support they had received from the community and were grateful that protests in Chicago over the last few days remained peaceful.