CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Chicago is preparing for a possible night of protests after the release of footage showing police fatally shooting what appears to be an unarmed 13-year-old boy.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, an independent board that investigates Chicago police shootings, released the footage of the March 29 fatal shooting of Adam Toledo after allowing the boy’s family to view it Tuesday. The Toledo family urged people to “remain peaceful” ahead of the footage’s release.
“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.
NewsNation affiliate WGN documented local businesses and larger stores in the downtown area boarding up buildings starting early this morning. Employees at some companies were told to go home early because of potential protests.
Downtown, a small crowd held a press conference at Millennium Park before marching on Michigan Avenue. Further down on Michigan Avenue at Chicago Police Headquarters, activist Ja’Mal Green led a rally of around 30 people.
“Today, we stand in solidarity to say we have to protect our children all over this city, ” Green said. “They want to talk about all of these circumstances but the actually circumstance we need to talk about — this was a victim of police brutality.”
Adam is the youngest person fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in recent memory. 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.
Earlier this year, the city’s Office of the Inspector General issued a scathing report on the CPD’s response to the unrest of 2020, concluding that the department was wholly unprepared to handle the protests and looting.
CPD had changed their policy when it comes to engaging with protesters after backlash to the police’s response to protests last May. They need to give clear and repeated warnings before police engage in any physical contact.
Along with 17 police body camera videos, COPA also released four third-party videos, several police radio transmissions and CPD incident reports.
The footage included the officer chasing then shooting Toledo along with the officer rendering aid to the teen was released.
Chicago police said officers responded to an area of Little Village on the city’s West Side before dawn on March 29 after a police technology detected gun shots there. The teen, who was Latino, and a 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman, 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.
It wasn’t immediately clear from the body camera footage whether Toledo was holding anything when he turned around. He appeared to be holding his hands up or trying to, right when the gun was fired.
Police said the handgun the boy had been carrying was recovered at the scene. Roman was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
Speaking at a news conference a few hours after the videos were released, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, an attorney for Adam’s family, said: “At the time Adam was shot, he did not have a gun.”
“That child complied. Adam complied with the officer’s request,” Weiss Ortiz added. “The officer saw his hands were up and he pulled the trigger.”
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.
NewsNation affiliate WGN and The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.