CHICAGO – Tensions are high as the city prepares for the release of what has been called a “disturbing video” of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month.
For the first time, prosecutors on Saturday described what the officer’s body camera footage showed, claiming Adam had a gun when he was shot dead by police on the city’s West Side.
The details were revealed during a bond hearing for 21-year-old Ruben Roman, who was with Adam at the time. Prosecutors said shots fired by Roman while standing next to Adam triggered a chain of events leading to the fatal shooting.
This week, Adam’s family is expected to watch the police body video before it is released to the public. Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that police canceled days off for officers in preparation for possible demonstrations. Chicago Police Spokeswoman Sally Brown declined to comment to the United States TODAY.
Here’s what we know on Monday:
What happened up to Adam Toledo’s shot?
At a bail hearing Saturday for Ruben Roman, prosecutors fought for more light on what happened that led to the shooting. They say surveillance video shows Roman walking up to a corner and taking a “shooting stance” as a vehicle drove past before firing seven or eight shots while standing next to Adam.
The relationship between Adam and Roman is unclear at this time.
Police have said its ShotSpotter technology detected eight shots, and officers were sent to the largely Latino neighborhood on the city’s West Side around 6 p.m. 2.30 on March 29. When police arrived, Adam and Roman fled, Chicago Police Chief David Brown said at a news conference last Monday.
One officer tackled and arrested Roman, while another chased Adam, who was holding a gun in his right hand when the officer shot him, prosecutors say. Officers repeatedly told Adam to put the gun down before being shot, according to prosecutors.
The prosecutor said the gun matched the cartridge cases found in the area where Roman fired.
An officer shot Adam once in the chest during the “armed confrontation” in an alley, police said. Adam died on the spot.
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Who is the officer involved?
The identity of the officer who shot Adam has not yet been released. He has been on administrative leave for 30 days, which Brown said is “routine protocol.”
What do we know about Ruben Roman?
An arrest warrant was issued last week after Roman skipped a trial and was found last Friday hidden in a closet in his mother’s house, prosecutors say.
When asked about Adam’s identity, prosecutors claim that Roman gave them a false name, refused to know Adam or fired any shots and instead claimed to be in the street waiting for a train.
Rome’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood, called Adam’s death “tragic” and dismissed the implication that Roman was responsible for his death.
“The victim died at the Chicago police station, not my client,” she said, according to the Associated Press.
Roman was held on a $ 150,000 bond and faces crimes for illegal use and reckless firing of a firearm as well as child endangerment and violation of probation. He was previously indicted by a prosecution for resisting arrest in connection with the March 29 shooting.
The Toledo family was present during the bond hearing but are unable to comment, their attorneys, Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, said in a statement.
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Has the family seen the footage? When will it be published?
Adam’s family is scheduled to see police body footage and other related material this week, according to a statement from their lawyers. They did not say when or what details would be released.
“The city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability have been very cooperative,” the family said. Earlier, the family said they had “requested quick meetings with relevant authorities to obtain evidence and to review police body footage and other available video.”
Police body camera footage is expected to be released to the public after the family has seen it.
The Civil Police Bureau of Investigation, or COPA, originally said it was forbidden to release the video because Adam was a minor. But the agency later changed course, saying the state law “does not prevent the publication of the body-worn and third-party video camera recordings that the agency has obtained.”
The office has described the body camera video as a “worrying video”.
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How does the family react?
Adam’s funeral took place Friday. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and respect for their privacy in this time of grief,” the family said in a statement last week.
At a news conference last Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot questioned “how a 13-year-old boy came to be in possession of a gun” before information was released on whether or not Adam had a gun when police shot him. Lightfoot also talked about “gangs … looting our most vulnerable.”
After the press conference, the family responded by saying they were “concerned about the assumptions, implications and statements made today that are not supported by the facts published so far.”
“We are not in a position to refute or respond to these statements until we receive the evidentiary facts, which so far are known only to the police,” the statement said. “However, we want to correct the hurtful and false misleading characterization of Adam as a lonely child on the street who had no one to turn to. This is simply not true.”
Adam was a “loved and supported 13-year-old boy” from a “close family”, the statement said. He lived with his mother, his 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 received support from his teachers and his classmates.
“Adam was not alone,” the statement said.
What did the mayor say?
At a news conference last Monday, Mayor Lightfoot called for reforms of how police pursue suspects on foot and called for a “thorough, quick” investigation.
Lightfoot said the tragedy underscores the need to change Chicago police policy, saying police work on foot is one of the most dangerous activities police participate in because they are often separated from their partners and communication becomes difficult.
“We cannot and will not push the foot search reform out for another day,” said Lightfoot. “We can no longer afford to expose it tomorrow to what we can address today, for life is really at stake.”
Lightfoot also 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. “Siblings are without their brother. And this community is grieving again.”
How has the public reacted?
Dozens of members of the community gathered for a guard with a balloon release last Monday night in the Little Village neighborhood where Adam died.
Ana Solano, an organizer of the local advocacy firm Únete La Villita, helped organize a gathering after vigilance, which she said gave people “an opportunity to express our anger and grief and treat our trauma together as a community.”
Solano said the shooting has been particularly traumatic for the Latino community in Chicago, especially for young people who may see themselves in Adam. The meeting was also to demand response and accountability from Chicago police, she said.
Some of these responses may come in the release of the camera footage, but Solano is partially reluctant to watch the “traumatic” video.
“I can not even imagine how it would feel for his mother to see it,” she said. “And even if the video comes out, will the police really hold themselves accountable?”
A GoFundMe site has raised more than $ 50,000 for the Toledo family.
“Adam had many dreams that he would never get extradited,” Elizabeth Toledo wrote on the page. “Ironically, one of his dreams was to become a police officer.”
Contact News Now Report Christine Fernando at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.
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