Latino leaders and lawyers are calling on the Justice Department to investigate the fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer in 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
The groups, who held a press conference on Tuesday, also urged Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to accelerate court-overseen changes to Chicago policing, end official tracking of foot, and invest government Covid aid to help young people in helping the Toledo neighborhood lived and died.
Leaders calling for change include the Illinois Hispanic Lawyers Association, Illinois Puerto Rican Bar Association, American Bar Association’s Hispanic Rights and Duties Commission, and the Pilsen Law Center, where the press conference was held.
“Only a thorough investigation by the Ministry of Justice to establish clear guidelines and procedures for regulating policing in the community can give the Latino community a semblance of faith and trust,” said Arturo Jáuregui, an attorney at the Pilsen Law Center Conference and in a press release.
The center said on social media on Saturday that “the legal system must act just and fairly and seize the opportunity to ensure that the Toledo family has justice”.
Officer Eric Stillman responded to a gunshot fired in the early hours of March 29 as he chased Toledo into a dark alley in the mostly Latin American neighborhood of Little Village. The Bodycam video released last week shows that Toledo appeared to be dropping a gun and began raising his hands for less than a second before Stillman fired his gun, killing him. His bodycam footage later shows Stillman lighting a gun on the floor near the boy after he shot him.
Stillman is white and Toledo was Latino. The video spurred mourning and demonstrations across the city and was set against a Minneapolis trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd and another murder of a black man, Daunte Wright, by a white officer in the Minneapolis suburb.
Lightfoot has stated that the city must allow its independent review agency to complete its investigation, but it understands that “the wave of outrage around it is due to a long legacy of trauma in our city and country related to police violence” .
Chicago approved hundreds of changes in policing under an assent decree approved by a federal judge in 2019 after a Justice Department investigation revealed a decade-long record of racism and abuse by Chicago police. The investigation was sparked by the murder of Laquan McDonald, a black 16-year-old, by a white officer in 2014. Jason VanDyke was later convicted of murder for shooting the teenager 16 times, a video the city struggled to suppress.
A report from an independent monitor last month showed that the city has made some progress in implementing changes, but that significant work is still ongoing.
Lightfoot said last week she wanted police to adopt a new foot tracking policy before summer.
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