CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that investigates Chicago police shootings will release body camera video of an officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy, first to the boy’s family and then to the public, an official said Friday.
Ephraim Eaddy, a spokesman for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, told The Associated Press that it remains unclear when the video of Monday shooting death of Adam Toledo will be released, but that it will be soon. He also said that although the plan is to release it to the family, the public release could come quickly after that — even the same day.
Eaddy said Thursday that the police accountability board was legally prohibited from releasing the video of Monday’s shooting because the teen was a minor. But on Friday, he said further analysis of the law led the board to conclude that it could release the footage.
The video comes from a body camera of an officer who as at the scene of the shooting, and although Eaddy declined to say if it was from the body camera of the officer who shot the teen, he said it captures the foot pursuit of the teen and the shooting itself.
The shooting happened at about 2 a.m. on Monday. According to police, officers were dispatched to an area in the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s West Side after the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of gunfire nearby. When they arrived, Toledo and a 21-year-old man ran away. While chasing the teen, there was an “armed confrontation” during which the officer shot him once in the chest, police said. He died at the scene. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
Police said investigators recovered a gun near the shooting scene, but the department hasn’t said whether the teen fired it or was holding it during the chase. The officer was placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in police shootings. But police haven’t released the name of the officer who shot the teen, which is typical for the department early on during such investigations.
When the police accountability board said the shooting had been captured by an officer’s body camera, there were immediate calls to release it. The city has a troubling history of trying to suppress video that reflects poorly on the police department, including in the 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald — for which the officer who shot the Black teenager 16 times eventually was convicted of murder — and in a botched 2019 raid during which a naked, Black, innocent woman wasn’t allowed to put on clothes until after she was handcuffed.
Police Superintendent David Brown released statement in which he said the department “adamantly” supported the release of the footage of Monday’s shooting. He gave no indication of what was on the video or even if he had seen it, but in past cases, the police department has quickly moved to release video of police shootings to dispel speculation about officer misconduct. At the same time, in a case that has already gained widespread attention because of the boy’s age, Brown pointed to a recent spate of violent crimes involving minors in the city.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took to Twitter on Thursday to say it was important that video of the shooting be shown to the teen’s family and then released to the public as quickly as possible.