CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after the family of 13-year-old Adam Toledo viewed video footage of his fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has now also seen the footage, though she declined to describe her reaction, or say when the video would be made public.
“It’s multiple videos, and I have now, yes, seen I think all of them,” Lightfoot said.
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Late Tuesday afternoon, Toledo’s family viewed the video footage of the teen’s shooting death by police during what authorities have said was an armed encounter in a Little Village alley early on the morning of Monday, March 29.
At the request of the family, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which is investigating the shooting, said it would not “immediately” release the body cam video to the public.
At an unrelated event Wednesday morning, Lightfoot was asked about the family’s request not to immediately release the video after they had watched it.
“This is a difficult set of circumstances. First and foremost, we have a family that is still incredibly in the throes of grief; a mom and father who have lost their son, siblings that have lost their brother, grandparents,” Lightfoot said. “So I want to be respectful of the family, but I also do think that something like a police-involved shooting, particularly under these circumstances, is important for us to be transparent.”
The mayor, however, did not say when the video might be released to the public.
“We’re going to move with the family to move this process along, but I think we have to be respectful of them, and move at their speed, and that’s what we’re endeavoring to do in balancing a range of different issues,” she said.
Lightfoot said the ongoing murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, in the death of George Floyd, is not “part of the calculus” in deciding when to release the video in the shooting death of Adam Toledo.
“This is about being respectful, and balancing the need for transparency with this grieving family that’s having an extraordinarily difficult time,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor declined to describe her own reaction to the video, citing the ongoing COPA investigation.
“I really think its important for them to have the space that they need to be able to do their work, so I’m not going to offer my own commentary about that,” she said.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, the Toledo family arrived at COPA’s offices late Tuesday afternoon with their attorney to review the video. They did not make stop to make any kind of comment.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported that after about two and a half hours inside, the Toledo family and their attorney left without saying anything.
But attorneys from Weiss Ortiz, PC, representing the family, did issue a statement after the family watched. They said watching the video was “difficult and heartbreaking” for the family:
“We met this evening with Adam Toledo’s parents and representatives of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to view the police body camera video and other evidence pertaining to the March 29 police shooting of 13-year-old Adam. The experience was extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present and especially for Adam’s family.
“We want to thank COPA for giving the Toledo family the opportunity to review body camera video and other evidence before its public release. We are continuing to conduct our own investigations we seek justice for Adam and his family.
“We are meeting with representatives of the city of Chicago and will have no further comment on the facts in the case at this time.
“We do, however, want to take this opportunity to express the family’s deep appreciation for the grace and respect that the community, Chicago authorities, and the media have shown for their suffering as they mourn the loss of their child. We ask that everyone continue to respect the Toledo family’s privacy during this difficult time.
“We also want to thank leaders and members of the Latino community for remaining peaceful in their protests and calls for justice. Adam’s memory can best be honored by refraining from violence and working constructively for reform.”
At the request of the family, COPA said in a statement Tuesday evening that will not “immediately” release the body cam video to the public.
“COPA has advised family representatives that, while it is acutely sensitive to the family’s grief and their desire to avoid public release of materials related to Adam’s tragic death, COPA is mandated to comply with the City’s Video Release Policy,” the office said in a statement. “While COPA is in the very early stages of this investigation, interviews of witnesses; civilian and law enforcement officers are ongoing. Investigators have obtained police reports, ShotSpotter, OEMC transmission and 911 call, audio recordings and other relevant evidence.”
Community leaders in Little Village are also calling for peace once the video is made public.
“This is a peaceful protest,” Baltazar Enriquez of the Little Village Community Council said at a protest in Little Village Monday. “This is a protest about human rights at this time, and we’re asking that all our citizens continue supporting us in a peaceful way.”
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At a bond hearing Saturday for the man who was with Adam Toledo, prosecutors said Adam had a gun in his hand when an officer shot and killed him.
Prosecutors said while defendant Ruben Roman was the one to fire the gun, Adam was holding it when he was shot and killed by police at a point when Roman was already being detained.
Roman, 21, was arrested shortly before noon Friday in the 1600 block of South 18th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois, in relation to a probation violation warrant. He is charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm, felony unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and felony endangerment of a child.
In a proffer, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said Roman was walking south on Sawyer Avenue toward 24th Street in Little Village at 2:36 a.m. Monday, March 29. Roman was wearing a gold Carhartt jacket and a gold shirt and dark pants, while Adam was wearing a navy blue hoodie, dark pants, and a white hat – and they could easily be told apart, prosecutors said.
Video from Farragut Career Academy High School showed Roman and Adam walking together, while a vehicle was seen heading down the street away from where they were. The video appears to show Ruben walk up to the corner and take a shooting stance, while Adam first starts to move back in the direction from which they came and then moves back toward Roman as Roman fires shots, prosecutors said.
Adam was next to Roman for a portion of time that Roman was firing shots, after which point Roman ran back the way they came – followed close behind by Adam, prosecutors said. A ShotSpotter alert recorded eight shots being fired, and a total of seven shell casings were found at the scene where Roman was shooting, prosecutors said.
After the shots were fired, Roman and Adam began running north on Sawyer Avenue and cut into a gangway at 2324 S. Sawyer Ave., prosecutors said. Two uniformed Chicago Police officers pulled up less than a minute after the shots were fired as Ruben and Adam fled in the alley, prosecutors said.
Both officers got out of their squad car and chased the pair down the alley, prosecutors said. Roman was taken to the ground first and one of the officers detained him as he dropped a pair of red gloves on the ground, prosecutors said. This was captured by the officer’s body camera, prosecutors said.
The gloves later tested positive for gunshot residue, prosecutors said.
As Roman was being detained, the other officer kept chasing Adam down the alley and told him to stop, but he kept running, prosecutors said. Adam then stopped near a break in a wooden fence, and the officer ordered Adam to show his hands, prosecutors said.
At that point, Adam was standing with his left side toward the officer, and had his right hand at his right side, prosecutors said. Adam turned toward the officer, and it turned out he had a gun in his right hand, prosecutors said. The officer ordered him to drop the gun, prosecutors said.
When he did not, the officer shot Adam once in the chest, prosecutors said. The officer gave Adam CPR afterward, but Adam did not survive.
The gun that Adam was holding landed a few feet away against the fence, prosecutors said.
Adam was pronounced dead at the scene. His right hand also tested positive for gunshot residue, and the Ruger 9mm was recovered against the fence, prosecutors said.
The fired shell casings from the scene matched up to the Ruger 9mm, prosecutors said.
Meanwhile, Roman was placed into custody and questioned about the incident and prosecutors said he gave a fake name for Adam – something that police Supt. David Brown previously blamed for holding up the investigation. Roman also claimed he did shoot and did not know anything about what happened because he was just in the alley waiting for a train, prosecutors said.
He never explained about what train would have stopped in the alley, which does not have any train tracks in it, prosecutors said.
Roman was interviewed again a short time later and this time denied knowing whom he was with at the time of the incident. He was initially charged with misdemeanor resisting and given a $1,500 I-bond.
The investigation continued, and police ran the prints of the name Roman initially gave for Adam – figuring out it was fake, prosecutors said.
Days after the shooting, we asked the family attorney about the possibility of Adam having a gun when police shot and killed him. The attorney, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, said such a development would surprise the family.
In the days immediately after the shooting, police never mentioned the person they shot was 13 years old. Instead, that information was released three days later by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Lightfoot has said she wants to know who gave the teenager a gun.
The funeral for Adam was held last Friday. Several protests have erupted from the public demanding transparency.