Bodycam Footage in Chicago Cop Shooting Reveals Prosecutor 'Misspoke' by Saying 13-Year-Old Was Definitively Armed

Illustration for article titled Bodycam Footage in Chicago Cop Shooting Reveals Prosecutor 'Misspoke' by Saying 13-Year-Old Was Definitively Armed
Image: Kamil Krzaczynski (Getty Images)

On March 29, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by Chicago police officers following reports of an altercation involving gunfire. On Thursday afternoon, footage captured by the police officers’ body cameras was released, showing that the state prosecutor’s statement about whether or not Toledo was armed at the time of his death was wrong and that the prosecutor was not “fully informed.”


The bodycam footage was released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability in response to pressure from the lawyers for Toledo’s family. According to WGN, what the footage shows is that Toledo did not have a weapon in his hand when he was fatally shot by the police, even though that, naturally, was the excuse used by the CPD to justify this murder.

From WGN:

Bodycam footage from the firing officer shows he and his partner briefly chasing Roman and Adam through an alley near Farragut Career Academy High School. The firing officer’s partner quickly tackles Roman, while the firing officer goes after Adam.

While chasing the teen, the officer repeatedly tells him to “stop right f—— now” and to “show me your f—— hands.” The officer also tells Adam to “drop it.”

Adam can be seen briefly ducking behind a break in a fence near Farragut, then quickly reemerging. The officer was standing about 10 feet away, pointing his gun and a flashlight at the teen. Moments later, Adam turns toward the officer with both his hands raised, and the officer fires a single shot, striking Adam in the upper left side of his chest, near his heart.

In a statement, Cook County State Attorney spokesperson said, “An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court.” Prosecutors also told the court that there was gunshot residue on Toledo’s right hand, which, in light of the body cam footage released, is also in question. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement in concert with Toledo’s family and state prosecutors, expressing her sorrow at the incident, while also urging peaceful protest in response. “We acknowledge that the release of this video is the first step in the process toward the healing of the family, the community and our city,” the statement read. “We understand that the release of this video will be incredibly painful and elicit an emotional response to all who view it, and we ask that people express themselves peacefully.”

Senior Writer, Jezebel



Whether or not a person who was executed by police was armed or not is kind of an important detail. A prosecutor—an officer of the court—should know that. Misleading the court on that sort of basic detail is inexcusable and someone needs to be held accountable (spoiler: no one will be held accountable). If someone lied to the prosecutor, whoever that person is deserves to be fired (and to the extent available, prosecuted). If the prosecutor lied, they deserve to be fired and disbarred. If the prosecutor failed to apprise themselves of the facts before making a definitive representation to the court, they deserve to be fired and face some sort of bar discipline (probably short of disbarment).

This whole fucking thing is rotten and despicable. That kid gave up and did what that officer asked and that officer executed him anyway and then the entire system, which is supposed to serve and protect the public, went into overdrive to conceal the truth (despite having to know that there was bodycam footage that would disprove their false narrative). The likelihood of anyone being held accountable in any real way seems vanishingly small. I know it’s difficult to imagine a world “without” police, but what even is it we’re supposed to “reform” here when every aspect of the system seems like it’s broken to its core.

And they can miss me with this whole “please protest peacefully” shit. You first cops—you POLICE give being “peaceful” a try, stop brutalizing and terrorizing and executing the people they are supposed to protect, and maybe then more people will think twice about breaking a fucking window or whatever.