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Video Released Of The Fatal Chicago Police Shooting Of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo


The city of Chicago has released video from last month's fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old boy. An officer shot Adam Toledo during early morning hours in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. The video's release comes as the country follows the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis and as it grapples with the police killing of Daunte Wright. Patrick Smith of Member Station WBEZ joins us now. Welcome.

PATRICK SMITH, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

CHANG: So before we get into the contents of this video, can you just remind us what happened when Adam Toledo was shot?

SMITH: So this happened March 29, about 2 1/2 weeks ago, at about 2:30 in the morning. Authorities say Adam Toledo was with a 21-year-old who authorities have identified as Ruben Roman Jr. They say Roman fired seven or eight shots, apparently not hitting one, with Adam Toledo standing next to him. That brought police to the area. Prosecutors say Toledo and Roman ran from the shooting scene, and at some point, Roman handed a gun to the 13-year-old, who then ran from police.

CHANG: Well, this footage, it just came out hours ago. We should let listeners know that an officer does use strong language in it, and it may be disturbing to hear. With that in mind, what does this video show?

SMITH: The police body camera from the officer who fired the fatal shot, it shows the officer chasing Toledo down an alleyway on foot. He's shouting for the boy to stop. And after a brief chase, Adam Toledo does stop, even though it's clear in the video that he has - he could have kept running down the alley. He stops. The police shared a screenshot that shows that, at that moment in the video, it appears to show a gun in Adam Toledo's hand held behind his back. The officer can be heard shouting, show me your hands.


ERIC STILLMAN: Police. Stop. Stop [expletive] now. Hey, show me your [expletive] hands. Stop it.

SMITH: Adam Toledo is then shown in the video raising his arms above his head. The gun that was seen in that screenshot does not appear to be in his hand anymore. And as he's raising his arms, the officer fires a single shot that hits the boy in the chest.

CHANG: And how much does that fit with what police had previously said about this shooting?

SMITH: Well, what was released today confirms mostly what police said about what drew officers to the area and how the incident started. You know, police said that Toledo was armed as he ran, which the video and especially that screenshot appears to confirm. The moment of the shooting, police initially described that as an armed confrontation. However, there's no confrontation seen at the moment he was shot. As I said, Toledo had stopped running as he was ordered, and he seemed to be complying with the officer when the officer fired.

CHANG: Meanwhile, Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago - she held a press conference earlier today before these videos were released. And I understand that she was trying to prepare the city for what was coming. What did she say?

SMITH: Well, she stood at city hall with community leaders. She would not get into the specifics of the video at the time. And really, her message was to withhold judgment and to please remain calm and peaceful when they see these videos. She also - for at least the second time talking about this, she got emotional. She fought back tears as she talked about these videos.


LORI LIGHTFOOT: No parent should ever have a video broadcast widely of their child's last moments, much less be placed in a terrible situation of losing their child in the first place.

SMITH: I should say, a family spokeswoman - you know, the Toledo family viewed these videos earlier this week. A family spokeswoman says the videos were heartbreaking and devastating for the family to watch, obviously. They've joined in the mayor's call and have been calling all this week for peace as people see these videos.

CHANG: That is Patrick Smith from member station WBEZ. Thank you.

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

Patrick Smith
Patrick Smith is a producer for WBEZ. He produces All Things Considered and reports on politics and criminal justice. Patrick joined WBEZ as an intern in 2013 and never left.