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More Protests Expected After Video Of Fatal Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo Released


Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed during an encounter with police in Chicago last month. Afterward, the authorities told his family that Adam had a gun in his hand when he was shot. He did not. His hands were up, and they were empty under pressure from his family, activists and even some police officials, the city released video of the shooting yesterday. Earlier today, I talked to Claudia Morrel of member station WBEZ.


KING: We are not going to play the video or any audio from it because it is very graphic. But tell us about what you can see.

MORELL: Well, we see a police officer chasing Adam Toledo down a dark alley. And the officer was responding to 911 calls about several gunshots in the area. And prosecutors later say a 21-year-old man who was with Toledo was the one who fired the shots. And police say Toledo had the gun while he was running from them. But the crucial moment is really just one or two seconds. The officer yells at Toledo to stop running and he appears to comply, raising his hands. And as soon as he does, he's shot once in the chest. You know, it's extremely hard to watch and, you know, even harder knowing that Adam was just 13 years old, in seventh grade.

KING: It is extremely hard to watch, but it does make the circumstances extremely clear. The child was not holding a gun when he was shot. So what's been the reaction there in Chicago?

MORELL: Well, it was a pretty small gathering last night in The Loop by The Bean. It was kind of impromptu because the video had just been released late that afternoon. But while I was downtown, I talked with David Holloway (ph). He's 19, and he's Black. And he says he doesn't really feel protected by police.

DAVID HOLLOWAY: That could've been me when I was 13. I've been in multiple encounters with police throughout my life, even at that age. Like, it was just devastating.

MORELL: And, you know, obviously, it's devastating for Toledo's family, as well. They saw the video earlier this week. The city gave them a private viewing, and they didn't want the video released. They told the city to hold off. But, you know, the city has a policy in place that requires them to release all footage of police-involved shootings within 60 days.

KING: What does Adam's family plan to do now?

MORELL: Well, the lawyer for the family, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, says she's looking to sue the city.


ADEENA WEISS ORTIZ: The officer screamed at him, show me your hands. Adam complied, turned around. His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest.

MORELL: The city's investigating the shooting. It's the normal process that happens after all police-involved shootings so that they can determine whether it was a justified use of force or not. The officer is currently on administrative duties while that takes place. And, you know, this could take several months. And for Chicago residents, the shooting and the investigation are reminiscent of the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald. But, you know, in that case, it took the city a year to release the body cam footage. And that was only after a federal judge forced the city because a reporter had filed a FOIA request. In this case, it's actually remarkable that it just took 2 1/2 weeks after the shooting. And that's partially because of the policy that was put in place after McDonald's death and partially because, you know, there had been a lot of outrage kind of brewing up here in the city.

KING: And, Claudia, is Chicago expecting more protests today?

MORELL: Yes, there are several protests scheduled for tonight. And it's possible they could continue through the weekend. Stores on the Mag Mile have already started boarding up their storefronts.

KING: Claudia Morell, a reporter with WBEZ in Chicago. Thank you, Claudia.

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

Claudia Morell
Claudia Morell is a city political reporter for WBEZ.