The chief attorney’s office in Cook County, Illinois, admitted to an internal review released Wednesday that its office had provided information about the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy by Chicago police.
Prosecutor Kim Foxx apologized for her office’s handling of the death of boy Adam Toledo, who died early March 29th. A police officer, responding to a gun call, chased Adam down an alley and shot him after ordering him to stop and “drop” – an incident that was taped on body cameras and security videos.
Foxx’s office also confirmed that it told staff Wednesday morning that First Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Coleman had resigned. It declined to comment further as it is a personnel matter. Coleman, a veteran prosecutor who was promoted in December, was Foxx’s top advisor on day-to-day legal operations.
“The tragedy of the death of a 13-year-old boy has been clouded by the confusion and frustration my office has caused, and I apologize for that,” Foxx said in a statement. “I am not lost that our church is grieving, and I want to reassure Adam’s family and the public that my office is busy investigating his death.”
Prosecutors came under fire when it became known that prosecutors’ initial description of events implied that Adam was holding a gun when he was shot. At an April 10 hearing for Ruben Roman, 21, who was dating Adam when he was shot, Assistant State Attorney James Murphy appeared to be suggesting to the court that Adam was armed when he was shot.
“The officer tells [Adam] to drop it as [Adam] turns to the officer. [Adam] has a gun in his right hand, “Murphy said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.” The officer shoots one shot [Adam]and hit him in the chest. The gun that [Adam] had landed a few yards away against the fence. “
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The Toledo family insists Adam had no gun when the officer fired the fatal shot.
“Adam had no weapon in his hand in the last second of his life. The officer yelled at him: ‘Show me your hands.’ Adam relented and turned around. His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest by the officer. He had no gun in hand, “said Adeena Weiss Ortiz, an attorney for the Toledo family, in April after police videos were released .
Roman was arrested on the scene of a crime for resisting or obstructing a peace officer. He was later charged with endangering the child, exacerbated illicit use of a weapon and reckless handing over of a firearm. He remains free on loan, NBC Chicago reported.
Based on the shooter’s video, identified by Chicago police as Eric Stillman, it was not clear whether Adam was holding a gun as he was chased down the alley. A Stillman attorney said in a statement that he had no choice but to shoot because he “had no place to hide,” adding that “the gun was oriented[d] in his direction and he had no choice. “Stillman was on administrative leave.
Foxx’s office said April 15 that Murphy “did not make himself fully informed before speaking in court.” On the same day, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a police regulator, released videos of raw body cameras after weeks of public outcry.
Also on the same day, the Chicago police released their own edited timeline video showing a firearm lying on the ground at the crime scene and stillman’s bodycam video that police said was holding a gun milliseconds before he was shot.
Video from a nearby surveillance camera released by the police officer that recorded the shooting shows Adam pausing through a gap in a wooden fence before facing the approaching officer, who quickly fires his gun. The police video shows a gun on the ground near the gap in the fence.
Community groups expressed outrage, saying it was apparent that Adam followed the officer’s instructions and denied police accounts that there was an “armed confrontation”.
Murphy was on leave during the internal investigation and has since returned, Foxx said. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Foxx office investigation “revealed a disruption in communication in the disclosure of information that was ultimately not brought up either before or in good time after the Foxx hearing in the Bond Court,” and the attorney “did not intend to create the impression that that Adam Toledo was holding a gun when he shot. “
“The language the attorney used in court was indecent,” the review said.
The Foxx office said that as a result of the investigation, the attorneys will receive training on how to present facts in court and that guidelines and procedures will be added for the office to ensure that checks and balances are working as intended.
Foxx told the Sun-Times last month that their office’s outages had hurt morale.
“This is about the expectation that law enforcement will be direct and transparent,” she said. “There is no sacrificial lamb here. This is about making sure we get it right, and when we don’t get it right, owning it and doing what we have to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “