CHICAGO – Tensions are running high as the city prepares for the release of “disturbing video footage” of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month.
Prosecutors on Saturday described what the officer’s body camera footage showed, alleging that Adam had a gun when he was shot and killed on the city’s West Side.
Details were revealed during a hearing on the obligations of Ruben Roman, 21, who was with Adam when he died. Prosecutors said the shots fired by Roman while standing next to Adam sparked a chain of events that led to the fatal shooting.
This week, Adam’s family are due to view the police bodycam video before it is released to the public. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that police canceled officers’ days off in preparation for possible protests. Police spokeswoman Sally Brown declined to comment on USA TODAY.
Here’s what we know on Monday:
What happened before the shooting of Adam Toledo?
At Roman’s bail hearing on Saturday, prosecutors shed more light on what happened. They said surveillance footage shows Roman walking around a corner and taking a “shooting position” as a vehicle passed before firing seven or eight shots as he stood next to Adam.
The relationship between Adam and Roman is unclear.
Police said ShotSpotter technology detected eight shots and officers were dispatched to the city’s West Side neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. on March 29. When the police arrived, Adam and Roman fled, Chicago Police Department commissioner David Brown said at a press conference last Monday.
One officer tackled and arrested Roman while another pursued Adam, who prosecutors said was holding a gun in his right hand when the officer shot him. Officers repeatedly told Adam to put the gun down before he was shot, prosecutors said.
This pistol matched the cartridge cases found in the area where Roman was firing, prosecutors said.
An officer shot Adam once in the chest during the “gun showdown” in an alleyway, police said. Adam died at the scene.
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Who is the agent involved?
The identity of the officer who shot Adam has not been disclosed. He was put on administrative leave for 30 days, which Brown called “routine protocol.”
What do we know about Ruben Roman?
After the shooting, Roman was released for a misdemeanor before being returned to custody.
An arrest warrant was issued last week after Roman skipped a court date Wednesday for unlawful use of a weapon in an unrelated case. He was found on April 9 hiding in a closet at his mother’s home, prosecutors said.
When asked about Adam’s identity, Roman gave a false name, denied knowing the boy or firing shots and claimed to be in the alley waiting for a train, prosecutors alleged.
Roman’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Courtney Smallwood, called Adam’s death “tragic” and dismissed the implication that Roman is responsible.
“The victim died at the hands of the Chicago police, not my client,” she said, according to the Associated Press.
Roman was held on $ 150,000 bail and faces felony charges of the felony of unlawful use and reckless discharge of a firearm, as well as endangerment of children and breach of probation. He had previously been charged with resisting arrest in connection with the March 29 shooting.
The Toledo family were present at the bail hearing but were unable to comment, their lawyers, Adeena Weiss-Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, said in a statement.
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Has the family seen the pictures? When will it be made public?
Adam’s family are expected to view camera footage of the police body and other related material this week, according to a statement from their lawyers. They did not say when or what details would be made public.
“The City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and the Police Civil Accountability Office have been very cooperative,” said a statement from the family, who “called for expedited meetings with relevant authorities to obtain evidence and review the camera footage of the police force and other available video. “
Camera footage of the police body will likely be released to the public after the family sees them.
The Civil Police Accountability Office, or COPA, initially said it was banned from posting the video because Adam was a minor, but this changed course, saying state law “didn’t not prohibit the publication of the worn body and footage from third-party video cameras the agency has obtained. “
The bureau called the body camera video “disturbing.”
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How does the family react?
Adam’s funeral was on Friday. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and the respect shown for their privacy during this time of mourning,” the family said in a statement last week.
At a press conference last Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked “how a 13-year-old boy came to be in possession of a gun” before the information was made public about the fact that Adam had a gun when the police shot him. Lightfoot spoke of “gangs … preying on our most vulnerable”.
After the press conference, the family responded by saying they were “concerned about the assumptions, implications and statements made today which are not supported by facts made public so far.”
“We are not in a position to refute or respond to these statements until we have obtained the evidence, which so far is only known to the police,” the statement said. “We do, however, want to correct the misrepresentation of Adam as a lonely street kid with no one to turn to. This is just not true.”
Adam was a “loved and supported 13-year-old boy” from a “close-knit family,” the statement said. He lived with his mother, 90-year-old grandfather and two of his siblings, and his father was in his life, the statement said. He attended Gary Elementary School where he had the support of his teachers and classmates.
“Adam was not alone,” the statement read.
What did the mayor say?
At a press conference last Monday, Lightfoot called for changes in the way police pursue suspects on foot and called for a “full and speedy” investigation.
Lightfoot said the tragedy underscored the need to change Chicago police policy, saying foot chases were one of the most dangerous activities for police because they were often separated from their partners and the communication was becoming difficult.
“We can’t and we don’t want to push the reform of the foot pursuit for another day,” Lightfoot said. “We can no longer afford to postpone what we can solve today until tomorrow, because lives are really on the line.”
Lightfoot said she spoke briefly with Adam’s mother Elizabeth Toledo to offer her condolences.
“Let’s not forget that a mother’s child is dead,” she said. “The brothers and sisters are without their brother. And this community is in mourning again.”
How did the public react?
Dozens of community members gathered for a vigil with a balloon release Monday night in the Little Village neighborhood where Adam died.
Ana Solano, an organizer with grassroots advocacy organization Únete La Villita, helped organize a rally after the vigil, which she said gave people “an opportunity to express our anger and grief and to dealing with our trauma together as a community ”.
Solano said the shooting was particularly traumatic for Chicago’s Latino community, especially young people who might see themselves in Adam. The rally was supposed to demand responses and accountability from Chicago police, she said.
Some of the answers may come in the output of the body camera images, but Solano is partially reluctant to watch the “traumatic” video.
“I can’t even imagine what it would be like for his mother to watch him,” she said. “And even if the video comes out, are the police really going to be held accountable?”
A GoFundMe page raised over $ 50,000 for the Toledo family.
“Adam had many dreams that he could never live,” Elizabeth Toledo wrote on the page. “Ironically, one of his dreams was to become a police officer.”
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.