Mayor Lori Lightfoot vows to find the adult who put the gun in Adam Toledo’s hand
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday vowed to track down and hold accountable adults responsible for “putting a gun in the hands” of a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Chicago police last week.
By promising to hold adults accountable for the circumstances surrounding Adam Toledo’s death, Lightfoot went further than the Chicago Police Department was prepared to go.
The department only said that a gun was found near Toledo’s body. Neither police nor the Civil Police Accountability Office, which is investigating the shooting, said Toledo was holding the gun or pointing it at police when he was chased, shot and killed.
” Let’s be clear. An adult put a gun in a child’s hand. A young and impressionable child. And someone who shouldn’t have been given lethal force. A weapon which could and has irreparably changed the course of his life, ”declared the mayor.
“It happens too often in our city. And it’s high time for us to say, ‘No more.’ I asked the superintendent and the chief of detectives to use all resources to trace the origin of this weapon – by tracing, fingerprints and DNA and any other means – and to find the person responsible for the give to Adam. I want to bring to justice the person or persons responsible for putting this weapon in Adam’s hands.
Lightfoot did not accuse Chicago street gangs of putting the gun in the hands of Adam Toledo. But she approached it.
“The gangs prey on our most vulnerable, corrupting these young minds with promises of familia and profit. Like good shepherds, we need to take better care of our flocks to keep wolves at bay. And when the wolves dare to try to seize one of our own, we must strike them hard with the staff of a community united against the evils that threaten our youth, ”said the mayor.
Lightfoot urged the media to give Elizabeth Toledo, Adam’s mother, the “respect and space” she needs to mourn the loss of her son and make sense of what happened.
Having lost his own brother “on the streets”, Lightfoot said the Toledo family “needs our support… not our scathing judgment.”
“Let’s not forget that a mother’s child is dead. … None of us have stepped in Ms. Toledo’s shoes and none of us will, ”the mayor said.
“It’s a complicated story. But that’s not my story to tell.
Ald. George Cardenas (12th) quickly ignored this warning.
Cardenas said his community was “torn apart”, asking, “How is it possible that this 13-year-old boy is in an alley at 2:30 am” when he should have been sleeping at home.
“There is no judgment on this family, on this mother. I can only imagine what she went through. Maybe she didn’t have the tools and the resources, ”Cardenas said.
“Maybe the school probably knew something about this young man – or the teachers, or the counselor. Someone in the neighborhood knew something this young man was going through, but couldn’t say anything, ”he added.
“This young man had no one. Sad to say. No one who could help him, except a gang. So shame on us. I have this, ”said the alderman.
The Civil Police Accountability Office said police video at the scene of the shooting would be released as soon as possible, but only after the Toledo family had a chance to see it first. COPA said officials were working with the Toledo family to arrange a viewing of the “disturbing video footage.”
However, the Toledo family, in a statement released by lawyers on Monday, said they had not received confirmation of a deadline to view the video.
Also on Monday, Lightfoot said she had led Superintendent CPD. David Brown for drafting and implementing a new foot prosecution policy in time for the traditional wave of summer violence, a move that has garnered praise from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
Noting that Adam Toledo was shot and killed during a foot chase, the mayor said such chases present a “significant security problem” – for police, those being pursued and innocent bystanders.
“This is one of the most dangerous things they get to do. They are often separated from their partners. Communication is difficult. You are running in a dense urban environment. An alley, a street, a backyard “Lightfoot said.” It is high time we took into account this reality which is happening literally several times a day in many parts of our city, hundreds of times a year. ”
The city, in fact, has reformed foot pursuit procedures since the Department of Justice issued a damning report in 2017 on “bad police practices” in Chicago, including “tactically unhealthy foot pursuits.”
The report says such pursuits have sometimes resulted in police shooting at people they were pursuing simply because they ran away – not because they were suspected of a serious crime. Adrenaline and fatigue have been listed as factors in which cops shoot people during foot chases, according to the report.
This Justice Department report led to a court-ordered consent decree demanding hundreds of reforms to police practices, including foot pursuits. The latest report from an independent observer said police are on track to comply with these requirements for foot pursuits, including better training and monitoring of foot pursuits that end with the use of foot chases. strength.
Between March 2020 and the end of the year, there were more than 1,300 such prosecutions, including 382 involving the use of force by a police officer, according to the Observer’s report. The ACLU said the city and the police department had “resisted repeated calls” from criminal justice advocates to reform the way they conducted prosecutions on foot, saying it was “long overdue.”
Also on Monday, Brown was asked about a warning officers “security alert officer” that the Narcotics Unit learned that some Latin Kings “had been ordered by senior officers to shoot at unmarked police vehicles”.
The alert, sent Thursday, said factions of the gang were planning to retaliate in the aftermath of Adam Toledo’s fatal shooting around 2 a.m. on March 29 in an alley in the 2400 Block of South Sawyer.
“We agree with the Toledo family to call for peace. That they wouldn’t represent Adam’s death in the most appropriate way if someone called for violence, ”Brown said.
“I want to answer this question specifically by supporting the family’s concern that no one is fighting back, no one is inflicting any type of violence.”
Lightfoot was asked how concerned she was about the threat to police safety. She pointed to the “unprecedented number” of 79 officers shot dead last year. She doesn’t remember how high she was for the past 20 years.
“I hope these gang members aren’t stupid enough to do something. But I am determined. We will find the person who put this gun in Adam’s hand. We will not be deterred by threats from gang members, ”she said.
“An adult must be [held] responsible for putting a gun in a child’s hand. We have an obligation to his family, this community and our entire city to tell gang members and others, “We will not tolerate you using our children as pawns and preparing them for a life of misery.” This is happening in far too many communities. And this is where we have to, have to draw the line.