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Latino groups to demand federal investigation of Adam Toledo shooting in Chicago

Protesters hold a banner with a drawing of Adam Toledo.
Protesters demonstrate Sunday against the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, 13, in Chicago.
(Shafkat Anowar / Associated Press)

Latino lawyers and community leaders are set Tuesday to ask the Department of Justice to investigate the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer.

The group also will call on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to accelerate court-supervised changes to policing in Chicago, end foot pursuits by officers and invest federal COVID relief money in helping young people in the neighborhood where Adam lived and died.

Officer Eric Stillman was responding to a call of shots fired about 3 a.m. March 29 when he chased Adam into a dark alley in the Little Village neighborhood, a predominantly Latino area southwest of downtown Chicago. Bodycam video released last week shows the youth appearing to drop a handgun and begin raising his hands less than a second before Stillman fires and kills him.

Stillman’s bodycam footage later shows him shining a light on a handgun on the ground near the boy after the shooting.

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Stillman is white, and Adam was Latino. The video prompted grief and demonstrations in Chicago, a city with a long history of police misconduct and distrust between police and the community, especially among Black and Latino residents. It also came against the backdrop of the trial in Minneapolis of former Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, as well as the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, by a white officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

Lightfoot has said that the city must allow its independent review agency to complete its investigation but that she understands “the surge of outrage around it is rooted in a long legacy of trauma in our city and country around police violence.”

Chicago agreed to hundreds of changes in policing under a consent decree approved by a federal judge in 2019 after a Justice Department investigation found a record, going back decades, of racism and abuse by Chicago police.

The investigation was prompted by the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a Black 17-year-old, by a white officer. Jason Van Dyke was later convicted of murder for shooting the teen 16 times, video of which the city fought to suppress.

An independent monitor’s report last month said the city had made some progress on implementing changes but that significant work remained undone.

Lightfoot said last week she wanted the Police Department to enact a new foot-pursuit policy before summer.

The groups expected to call for a federal investigation Tuesday included the Hispanic Lawyers Assn. of Illinois and the Pilsen Law Center.


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