By Tara Molina and Charlie De Mar
CHICAGO (CBS) — Body cam video and other materials from the police shooting that killed Adam Toledo, 13, will be released on Thursday, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced.
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COPA made the announcement Wednesday and said it has informed Toledo’s family of the plan.
“COPA has remained sensitive to the family’s grief and is carrying out this release in accordance with the City’s Video Release Policy,” the office said in a statement. COPA said police body camera video, third party video, emergency dispatch transmissions and data from gunshot spotter tracking will be included in the release.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, we are told the release will include body-camera video, third-party video, Office of Emergency Management and Communications transmissions, ShotSpotter recordings, a Case Incident report, and tactical response and arrest reports.
A spokesperson for the Toledo family’s attorney’s office said they are conducting their own investigation, separate from Chicago Police and COPA. They have said they’re meeting with city representatives, but won’t say who.
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, COPA said Tuesday that it would not “immediately” release the body cam video to the public.
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Attorneys from Weiss Ortiz, PC, representing the family, issued 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 an unrelated event Wednesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has seen the body camera videos — but wouldn’t comment on what they show.
The mayor 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.”
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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 it’s 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 Charlie De Mar reported, peaceful protest continued Wednesday night in the Loop over the police shooting, as the Toledo family called for calm.
For 16 days – with Wednesday night being no exception – Little Village community leaders have been in the streets calling for the public release of the body camera video.
“Justice for Adam Toledo, justice for the Toledo family, and justice for Little Village,” Baltazar Enriquez of the Little Village Community Council said Wednesday.
Police said they were responding to eight ShotSpotter alerts in the area of 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue when an officer went on to shoot and kill Adam.
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.
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.
Some businesses have boarded up and the city has prepared, in case of civil unrest once the video is released. But community organizers and the Toledo family are calling for peaceful protests.
“We’re not looters,” Enriquez said. “We are protesters. We are people that are tired of being oppressed.”
COPA has not said what time to expect the release of the body cam video and other materials.
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Molina has also checked in several times with the Toledo family for their reaction to the planned release of the video. They had not issued any comment as of late Wednesday.