Chicago to release video of cop fatally shooting 13-year-old

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it will release bodycam footage, video captured by a third party, arrest reports and recordings of shots being fired

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Body camera footage of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy last month will be released Thursday, the board that reviews such shootings said.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, said in a news release Wednesday that among the materials it will release pertaining to the March 29 shooting death of Adam Toledo will be officer bodycam footage, video captured by a third party, arrest reports and recordings of shots being fired in the area that led police to respond.

The board didn’t say what the video shows or give any other information about the investigation.

The planned release comes in the wake of the traffic-stop shooting of Daunte Wright by a an officer in a Minneapolis suburb that has sparked protests as the broader Minneapolis area nervously awaits the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Read More: Chicago shootings at highest level in 4 years, police say

In this Tuesday, April 6, 2021, file photo, Jacob Perea, 7, left and Juan Perea, 9, hold signs as they attend a news conference following the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot by a Chicago Police officer at about 2 a.m. on March 29 in an alley. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File)

In Chicago, police said officers responded to an area of the predominantly Latino and Black neighborhood Little Village on the city’s West Side before dawn on the morning of the shooting after a police technology detected gun shots there. The teen, who was Latino, and a 21-year-old man fled on foot when confronted by police, and an officer shot the teen once in the chest following a foot chase during what the department described as an armed confrontation.

Police said a handgun the boy had been carrying was recovered at the scene. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

The review board initially said it couldn’t release the video because it involved the shooting of a minor, but it changed course after the mayor and police superintendent called for the video’s release.

“COPA’s core values of integrity and transparency are essential to building public trust, particularly in incidents related to an officer involved shooting, and we are unwavering in our commitment to uphold these values,” the board said in its statement Wednesday.

Footage of the Adam Toledo shooting has been widely anticipated in the city, where the release of some previous police shooting videos sparked major protests, including the 2015 release of footage of a white officer shooting Black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, killing him. The Toledo family urged people to “remain peaceful.”

“We have heard reports in the media that more protests are planned today, and while we have no direct knowledge of such events, we pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform,” the family said in a statement.

A Chicago police officer stands on the scene of a shooting where a 2-year-old boy was shot in the head while he was traveling inside a car near Grant Park, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Read More: Toddler in ‘grave condition’ shot in head during Chicago road rage incident

On Thursday, before the video’s release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and attorneys for the family and city said in a joint statement that they agreed Wednesday that in addition to the release of the video, all investigation materials should be made public, including a slowed-down compilation of what happened that morning.

“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 joint 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.”

Lightfoot also scheduled a midday news conference with what her office described as “community leaders.”

The Chicago Police Department has a long history of brutality and racism that has fomented mistrust among the city’s many Black and Hispanic residents. Adding to that mistrust is the city’s history of suppressing damning police videos.

The city fought for months to keep the public from seeing the 2014 video of a white officer shooting McDonald 16 times, killing him. The officer was eventually convicted of murder. And the city tried to stop a TV news station from broadcasting video of a botched 2019 police raid in which an innocent, naked, Black woman wasn’t allowed to put on clothes until after she was handcuffed.

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