adam toledo

On Anniversary of Adam Toledo's Death, Mother Plans to ‘Speak Out'

The address comes two weeks after Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced her office would not be charging the officer involved in Toledo's killing

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Exactly one year after 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer during a foot chase in the city's Little Village neighborhood, his mother is expected to "speak out" about a lack of charges in her son's case.

The address comes two weeks after Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced her office would not be charging the officer involved in Toledo's killing.

"This is a somber announcement. There are no winners in this very tragic situation," Foxx said during a press conference earlier this month.

Toledo’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city in Cook County Civil Court, saying they are “profoundly disappointed” that the state’s attorney won’t prosecute the officer who shot and killed the 13-year-old.

Members of the Little Village Community Council have criticized the decision, saying that it will not help bring the healing the community so sorely needs.

In the Toledo case, video from Officer Eric Stillman’s body camera shows him chasing Toledo down an alley in Little Village after responding to a ShotSpotter alert on March 29. The officer ordered him to stop and show his hands.

Video shows Adam standing sideways in a large gap in a wooden fence with what looks like a gun in one of his hands behind his back. The officer was on the other side of the alley as he yelled, “Drop it!”

In less than a second, Adam dropped the gun and raised his hands as the officer fired. Adam fell to the ground, and the officer called for an ambulance and performed CPR.

The area's top prosecutor said that in making the decision on whether to file charges in the case, her office looked "at the law as it applies."

"The case law that we rely on recognizes that police officers are often forced to make split second decisions and judgments in circumstances that are tense uncertain and rapidly evolving," Foxx said.

But the lawsuit filed by Toledo's family states that Stillman “unreasonably failed to issue clear, direct commands that would have de-escalated and slowed down the situation."

“Officer Eric Stillman chased, shot and killed 13-year-old Adam without justification," it reads.

The lawsuit argues that Adam “never posed an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to Stillman or any other person. Adam never brandished, pointed or otherwise threatened Stillman with a firearm or any other weapon whatsoever.

“Stillman’s conduct and use of excessive and deadly force was not objectively reasonable,” it states.

The lawsuit also accuses Stillman of failing to follow a department advisory on foot chases.

“Stillman, while in pursuit, unholstered his service weapon contrary to the advice provided in the CPD Foot Pursuits Training Bulletin,” the suit states. “As instructed by Stillman, Adam slowed down to surrender as he approached an opening in the alleyway fence. Stillman, however, failed to de-escalate the situation as required by the February 2020 CPD Use of Force Policy.”

In announcing no charges would be filed against Stillman, Foxx also revealed the officer who killed 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez just days later — also during a foot chase — would not be charged.

The deaths of Adam and Alvarez sparked protests and calls for a moratorium on foot pursuits. The lawsuit alleges that the city’s “years-long failure to address deficiencies” in the police department’s policies on foot chases led to Adam’s death.

Last month, the family of Alvarez filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago citing its failure to implement a foot pursuit policy for police.

“The city’s failure to implement a foot chase policy and its support of a policing culture of impunity were the driving force behind” the death, the lawsuit said.

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