CHICAGO, IL – The second-highest ranking official in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is resigning after an internal review found an oversight failure led to a prosecutor incorrectly telling a judge that 13-year-old Adam Toledo had a gun when he was fatally shot by Chicago police during a foot chase in March.
One of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s top prosecutors was forced to resign after an internal investigation revealed she did not review an in-court statement a fellow prosecutor made about Adam Toledo holding a gun before police fatally shot him. https://t.co/aPyAFqMpBQ
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) May 6, 2021
First Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Coleman announced she is resigning after an investigation into the statement, made by a prosecutor during a bond hearing. The statement falsely said the boy was holding a gun when he was shot.
He actually dropped the gun less than a second before being fatally shot by police.
In a proffer read by prosecutor James Murphy during the bond hearing for Ruben Roman, an adult arrested at the scene of Toledo’s shooting, the prosecution said:
“The officer tells [Adam] to drop it as [Toledo] turns towards the officer. [Toledo] has a gun in his right hand. The officer fires one shot at [Toledo], striking him in the chest. The gun that [Toledo] was holding landed against the fence a few feet away.”
The cook county prosecutor lied and said that #AdamToledo had a gun in his hand with he was shot. It was not misinformation! He lied in attempt to cover it up. This was a murder and a botched cover-up. #JusticeForAdam
This POS needs to resign. pic.twitter.com/SKTJ3KRKBp
— Nick Bezmaterny (@Nickeatscheese1) April 16, 2021
The inaccurate depiction of events were attacked by some, who argued the prosecution was trying to give a false narrative of what had occurred prior to the release of body camera and surveillance video.
The videos released through the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, show the boy was holding a gun during a foot chase, but dropped it the instant before Chicago Police Officer Eric Stillman fired.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told the media she did not know her prosecutor would go into specifics about the shooting at the court hearing, and that she had been told the Proffer would only be described in general terms.
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) January 9, 2021
Foxx stressed that the prosecutor gave factually correct information, but the statement may have created a “false impression” that Toledo was holding the gun at the moment he was shot:
“The internal investigation found that the attorney (involved) did not intend to give the impression that Adam Toledo was holding the gun at the moment that he was shot.
“Despite that that was not his intention, the proper steps weren’t taken to ensure that his language, the language he used in that statement in court, had the intended effect.”
Coleman resigned just five months after she was promoted to First Assistant. Although no reason was announced for the sudden resignation, it was Coleman’s job to keep the prosecutors’ words accurate and to keep Foxx informed of courtroom happenings.
Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo dropped the gun he'd been holding, turned and began raising his hands just as the officer had commanded. Then the cop fired a single shot, killing the boy in the dark Chicago alley. https://t.co/jJzaN76Id7
— 40/29 Emma Claybrook (@4029emma) April 20, 2021
The internal review found that Murphy “was not given sufficient guidance as to what information should and should not have been” a part of his statement during the court hearing.
Although most bond court proffers are not reviewed by supervisors before being submitted, this was a special case:
“What was unique about this particular case is that it’s a case that not only was pertaining to Ruben Roman’s charges, but also a separate investigation into the shooting death of Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer.
“So given the uniqueness of that and the pending investigation of the shooting, it certainly should have warranted additional review to make sure that what was said in court would not compromise the work that was being done on the investigation.”
The inaccurate comments were made during a bond hearing for Roman, who police say fired the shots that led to the officers’ confrontation with Roman and Toledo.
Officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert about 2:35 a.m. that morning and saw two males, Roman and Toledo, in the alley. Police allege Roman gave the gun to Toledo on March 29 around 2:30 a.m. Toledo then ran from police.
Adam Toledo ‘gang affiliation with Latin Kings’ to blame for death as they ‘gave him gun he was holding when shot’https://t.co/LBtbRmRGUa
— LadyPatriot777 (@LadyPatriot777) April 19, 2021
Officer Stillman chased Toledo down the dark alley while the boy carried the gun. At a fence opening, Toledo stopped. Less than one second before turning to face the officer, Toledo toss the gun behind the fence. As he turned, the officer fire one fatal round.
Prosecutor Murphy was placed on paid leave pending the investigation. The State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Sarah Stinovic, trying to distance herself form the prosecutor, said that Murphy had “failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court.”
Murphy’s paid leave resulted in low morale among prosecutors in the office. They worried that Murphy was being sacrificed, according to Foxx.
“This is about making sure that we get it right, and when we don’t get it right, owning it and what we need to do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
— 🗣🇺🇲 ollǝɥ ʎɐs oʇ ʇuɐʍ ʇsnſ 🇺🇲🗣 (@GBannerCap) April 19, 2021
The internal investigation concluded:
“[Murphy] did not intend to give the impression that Adam Toledo was holding a gun when shot. The investigation revealed that the language the attorney used in court was inartful, leaving an unintended impression.”
Murphy will return to his previous assignment, ending the paid leave he was placed on in early April.
The shooting remains under investigation.
— ROBERT (@BLKROCKET) April 18, 2021
The president of the Chicago police union said Officer Stillman was “100 percent justified” in opening fire on the boy.
Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara said:
“The offender still turned with a gun in his hand. This occurred in eight-tenths of a second.
“Time-lapse video shows that that officer had eight-tenths of a second to determine if that weapon was still in his hand or not. Period.
“There’s no way a rational person can say they can process that and their muscle reaction would be less than one second. The officer does not have to wait to be shot at or shot in order to respond and defend himself. There is no obligation whatsoever.”
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Here’s the truth: Bodycam video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo released to public
April 16, 2021
CHICAGO, IL – Chicago police released body camera footage of the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy who ran from police armed with a handgun. The video shows an officer making a split-second decision to fire as the boy turned toward him in an alley.
The March 29 footage released through the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability shows the an officer chasing Adam Toledo down an alley after responding to a call for shots fired in the area.
A police incident report identified the officer as 34-year-old Eric Stillman, who has served the Chicago Police Department since August 2015.
Police said officers were dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood in the early morning hours after the city’s ShotSpotter technology detected eight gun shots in the area. When police arrived, Toledo and 21-year-old Ruben Roman fled.
"The seventh grade boy was killed by an officer in the early morning hours of March 29 in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood"https://t.co/kWFwEjFYpJ
— Daniel P. Horan, OFM (@DanHoranOFM) April 16, 2021
Video obtained by police from a surveillance camera in the area captured Roman allegedly firing the shots that were detected by the ShotSpotter system. Roman was arrested by another officer at the scene.
As an officer chased Toledo, the officer can be heard on the video shouting at the boy:
“Stop right f—ing now. Hands — show me your f—ing hands now. Drop it!”
— Atom Radio (@UkAtomRadio) April 16, 2021
The boy stops running and stood with his right hand holding what appeared to be a handgun concealed against a fence as the officer tells Toledo to “drop it.”
The officer repeats the command just as the child begins to turn toward the officer. Toledo puts up both hands just as the officer fired one shot.
In surveillance video from a parking lot also released by police, Toledo appeared to toss something behind the fence immediately before turning to face the officer. Police later recovered a handgun from behind the fence believed to have been tossed by Toledo.
Chicago’s police review board released body camera video on Thursday of a police officer’s fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy late last month. https://t.co/tDRGh7ZLXs
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) April 16, 2021
After firing the shot, Toledo grabbed his chest and fell to the ground. The officer immediately radioed for an ambulance and began giving first aid to the youth.
The officer shouted to other officers while giving aid:
“I need a medical kit…. Hurry up.”
The officer also talked to the boy, who had his eyes open and was bleeding from the mouth. The officer told the boy:
“Stay with me.”
About one minute after shooting, the officer began giving the child CPR.
Officer Stillman has been placed on 30 days administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“As the officer, identified in police reports as Eric E. Stillman, 34, fires the single shot, Adam is raising his arms and appears to be empty-handed.” #BlackLivesMatter #StopKillingBlackPeople https://t.co/GTZYdQ8Hs8
— Cassandra Rae 🇺🇸🇪🇺🇬🇧 (@_badasscass_) April 15, 2021
Roman was held on $150,000 bond and faces felony charges of unlawful use of reckless discharge of a firearm. He was also charged with child endangerment and violating his probation.
Police released an uncommonly abundant amount of video of the incident including 17 bodycam videos, four third-party videos, a transmission from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, two audio recordings of 911 calls, six ShotSpotter recordings, as well as response and arrest reports.
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