More Protests Expected After Video Of Fatal Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo Released

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Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo was shot dead in an encounter with police in Chicago last month. The authorities then informed his family that Adam was holding a gun when he was shot. He did not. His hands were up and they were empty under pressure from his family, activists, and even some police officers. The city released a video of the shooting yesterday. I spoke to Claudia Morrel from the WBEZ member station today.


KING: We’re not going to play the video or audio of it because it’s very graphic. But tell us what you can see.

MORELL: Well, we see a policeman chasing Adam Toledo down a dark alley. And the officer responded to calls about multiple shots in the area. And prosecutors later say a 21-year-old man who was with Toledo fired the shots. And the police say Toledo had the gun when he ran away from them. But the crucial moment is really only a second or two. The officer yells at Toledo to stop running and he seems to obey and raises his hands. And as soon as he does, he’ll be shot once in the chest. You know, it’s extremely hard to see and even harder to know that Adam was only 13 years old, in seventh grade.

KING: It’s extremely difficult to see, but it makes the circumstances extremely clear. The child was not holding a gun when they were shot. How was the reaction there in Chicago?

MORELL: Well, it was a pretty small gathering last night on The Bean’s The Loop. It was kind of spontaneous because the video hadn’t been released until late afternoon. But while I was downtown I spoke to David Holloway (ph). He’s 19 and he’s black. And he says he doesn’t really feel protected by the police.

DAVID HOLLOWAY: That could have been me when I was 13. I have had multiple police encounters throughout my life, even at this age. It was just devastating.

MORELL: And of course it’s devastating for Toledo’s family too. You saw the video earlier this week. The city gave them a private tour and they didn’t want the video to be released. They told the city to hold back. But, you know, the city has a policy that they have to post all recordings of police shootings within 60 days.

KING: What are Adam’s family planning to do now?

MORELL: Well, the family lawyer, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, says she wants to sue the town.


ADEENA WEISS ORTIZ: The officer yelled at him, show me your hands. Adam followed and turned around. His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest.

MORELL: The city is investigating the shooting. It is the normal process that takes place after any shootings by the police so that they can determine whether or not it is a legitimate use of force. The officer currently has administrative duties while this is taking place. And that can take several months. And for Chicago residents, the shooting and investigation is a reminder of the Laquan McDonald police shooting in 2014. But in this case, it took the city a year to release the body cam footage. And only after a federal judge forced the city over a reporter filing a FOIA motion. In this case, it’s actually noteworthy that it only took 2 1/2 weeks after shooting. And that’s partly because of the policies that were put in place after McDonald’s death and partly because a lot of outrage was brewing here in town.

KING: And Claudia, does Chicago expect more protests today?

MORELL: Yes, several protests are planned for tonight. And it is possible that they will carry on all weekend. The stores on Mag Mile have already started entering their storefronts.

KING: Claudia Morell, a reporter at WBEZ in Chicago. Thank you, Claudia.

MORELL: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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