Adam Toledo’s Death Could Have Been Prevented

ABC 7 Chicago / Youtube

One second. What can happen in just a second?

The assassination of Adam Toledo.

Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Chicago, was killed in just one second by police on March 29th.

His death hit the headlines: Chicago Police Release Video of Officer Shooting Boy. What you should know about the police shooting of Adam Toledo. Adam Toledo remembered. So many of these headlines, so many similar stories, and it almost feels like everyday life. But we can’t let that be normal. As we read these headings, we need to remember: p.something is wrong here. Adam Toledo shouldn’t be dead.

Adam was reportedly seen “holding a gun” at some point during the confrontation with police. Prosecutors allege gun remains were found on his hand. By the time the camera footage was released, prosecutors claimed the boy had actually shot the police – a claim that turned out to be absolutely false.

But regardless of what happened – whether or not he had a gun at any point during the altercation – none of this justifies being shot by the police.

When I heard the news that the police bodycam video might be released, I told myself I wouldn’t see it. Between the testimony, images, and evidence presented at Derek Chauvin’s trial, I couldn’t bear to see another record of the moment a life was being taken from this world.

But I watched.

I saw it and wasn’t prepared for what I saw, jJust like I wasn’t ready to see George Floyd’s murder. But I’ve seen the video more than once and I’ve cried and kept wondering: what happened?

A 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman, was arrested at the scene with no shirt or breath and was taken into custody at 2:45 a.m. In the meantime, the police tried to resuscitate Adam, who was lying lifeless on the floor and was unresponsive.

Now a mother will never hold her child again and a whole community will mourn.

We are a nation grappling with this again, with a black person who died on the street by the police.

Did these cops stop to think about what they were doing? Have you thought about what would happen if you shot down your guns? Did you know they used fatal violence against a middle school student, a 13 year old little boy?

When I saw the video, I saw a child. A boy who followed instructions – stopped, turned, froze – and then I heard the policeman’s gun go off.

Police Union attorney Timothy Grace gave a press conference speaking on behalf of Gunner Officer Stillman: “The youth had a pistol in his right hand that was verbally instructed to fall and stop and obey valid, lawful instructions from the police officer, and the youth began to turn around.”

“At this point (the officer) has no cover, no cover up, he has no choice. He feels terrible about the result. He feels terrible that he had to use deadly force. No police officer wants to use lethal force while on duty. He was well in his justification for using lethal force, he just feels terrible, ”he continued.

I’ll stick to a few words from his statement: No police officer wants to use lethal force while on duty.

But you use deadly force, Mr. Union Lawyer. Do it. In addition to using deadly force, they are killing brown and black people at alarming, frightening, disproportionate rates.

In the video, you can hear the officer’s voice change after the fatal shots are fired. At that moment, the officer actually sounds scared. He comes in, calls for an ambulance, and tries to resuscitate him with CPR. But it’s too late. His actions have already caused the death of Adam Toledo. Adam, a child, was pronounced dead at 2:46 a.m.

We keep seeing this happen and we keep talking about it and it still doesn’t change, it doesn’t stop. The police use excessive force, which too often becomes fatal. Cops react and then think, and it has to be the other way around. Officer Stillman made a decision. The question he had to ask himself was: Do I want to kill this child? If Officer Stillman had chosen otherwise, Adam would be alive today.

I said it after the murder of George Floyd, after Eric Garner, after Daunte Wright – we should all be angry. That should hurt us all. Our country has just as bad a problem as COVID-19 and lives are senselessly lost every day. Racism is also a pandemic. Black and brown lives matter, but when will the police believe that?

Policeman, are you going to save a life? Next time, Ms. Policewoman, will you ask for support and keep calm? Will you believe that every life is important?

We need a police force that makes the right decision every time. Our lives depend on it, and so do our children’s lives.

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