adam toledo

Chicago Attorney Breaks Down Actions of Officer Who Fatally Shot Adam Toledo

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Dan Herbert, a Chicago attorney who has represented a number of police officers involved in deadly use of force incidents, says the officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo "absolutely had a reason to fire" if he believed the teen possessed a gun while turning toward him.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability - the city's police oversight agency - on Thursday released body camera videos and other related materials two days after Adam's family was shown footage of the March 29 shooting in Little Village.

The footage shows an officer chasing Adam in an alley while shouting at him to stop. Adam appears to pause near a fence bordering a parking lot at the end of the alley and turn toward the officer with his hands up.

"The officer is doing exactly what he is supposed to do, you know. He's responding to a call of shots fired, I believe into a vehicle," Herbert said, referring to the officer's actions seen in the beginning of the body camera video. "He responds to the scene, sees two individuals take off running. His job is to apprehend the offender, so...he fled and chased the individual."

The officer can be heard yelling, "Hey show me your f***ing hands, drop it, drop it," firing one shot as Adam turns and puts his hands up. As Adam turns and raises his hands, he's illuminated by a flashing light and the body camera footage appears to show that both of the boy's hands are empty.

Adam falls to the ground and the officer immediately moves toward him and calls for medical assistance, saying "shots fired by the police" as he requests an ambulance. The officer asks Adam if he is alright and where he was shot.

"..It really happens fast," Herbert said, explaining he believes it takes anywhere from point-seven seconds to one and a half seconds for the officer to react in such a situation.

The officer, identified as Eric Stillman, shot the teen less than one second after he appeared to have dropped a handgun.

About two-and-a-half minutes after the shooting, the body camera footage shows another officer shine a flashlight on a gun on the ground behind the fence near where Adam was shot. But it was not immediately clear, given the speed and nature of the videos, if Adam was holding the weapon leading up to the shooting.

A surveillance video from across the parking lot, though recorded from a distance, appears to show Adam make a tossing motion with his right hand behind the fence before turning to face the approaching officer, who then immediately fired the fatal shot.

"The individual, Mr. Toledo, that was trying to get rid of the gun, was doing in a way to conceal it from the officer, and you know, just looking at the video...I haven't spoken to the officer obviously, but I'm sure he did not see the disposal of the gun," said Herbert, who defended Jason VanDyke, the former Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of LaQuan McDonald.

An attorney for the Toledo family said that the video showed Adam did not have a gun at the moment the officer shot him.

Herbert, who was a police officer himself, advised people to comply if they encounter an officer, explaining that if the "police wrong, you got plenty of avenues to challenge that."

"But if you don't comply... you're giving the police officers an opportunity to be scared, and that could have dire consequences..." he said.

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