A 13-year-old Chicago boy appears to have dropped a handgun and begun raising his hands less than a second before a police officer shot and killed him last month, footage released Thursday under community pressure shows.
Authorities in Chicago have released police body camera footage showing an officer shooting dead a 13-year-old Latino boy as the mayor of America's third-largest city appealed for calm over the "excruciating" video.
The shocking footage shows teenager Adam Toledo running from officers in the small hours of March 29 and then being hit with a single shot to the chest as he stops and raises his hands.
I won’t put the video on my TL, but this is an image of 13 yr. old #AdamToledo before he was shot and killed by Chicago police.— Anthony Antoine (@AnthonyNBC12) April 15, 2021
Complying with directions shouted at him by the officer.
His hands up.
Those are the facts. pic.twitter.com/OQkOguWFAK
Prosecutors say he was armed, although no weapon is visible in his hands in the video when he is struck.
Tensions over racism and policing are already high in the United States as nearby Minneapolis hosts the trial of a white former policeman charged with murdering African American George Floyd in the same week that the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Black motorist sparked violent protests in a suburb of the city.
The Chicago Police Department has put out a video that chronicles the sequence of events leading up to the shooting of Adam Toledo.— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) April 15, 2021
The officiers were initially responding to a round of 8 shots fired on a street corner. pic.twitter.com/Bn7gHNjaCO
In a news conference on Thursday ahead of the latest video's release, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for a peaceful response from residents, describing the footage as "excruciating to watch."
Lightfoot would not comment on whether Toledo, who was laid to rest on Friday last week, was holding a gun when he was killed, despite saying repeatedly earlier in the week that he was.
"I don't think it matters whether Adam is a choir boy, whether he is involved in some other untoward activity, the fact of the matter is that he was walking in the street and he was shot unarmed," Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, the Toledo family attorney, told reporters.
Don't watch the Adam Toledo video. Just know, as is almost always the case, police lied. That 13-year-old boy was not armed, had his hands up, and was in no way a threat.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) April 15, 2021
Police in America are simply a death squad given power to murder whomever they want.
Toledo, who reportedly has American Samoan heritage, was laid to rest last week.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is reviewing footage from body cameras worn by the responding officers and other video, along with audio recordings from surveillance sensors.
READ MORE: Why police brutality persists in the US
It was hard to watch the Adam Toledo video.— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) April 15, 2021
A 13-year-old boy put his hands up and was shot without any provocation. If you are not horrified by what you saw, there is something wrong with you.
'Drop it, drop it'
Police responded to a report of shots fired at 2: 30 am on the Midwestern city's predominantly Latino and Black West Side. They chased Toledo and 21-year-old Ruben Roman — who had fired the originally reported shots, according to prosecutors — on foot.
Roman was quickly apprehended as the pair fled down an alley and the body cam footage shows an officer cornering Toledo. Prosecutors say the boy was armed, although no gun can be seen in the footage as Toledo raises his hands.
"The officer tells (Toledo) to drop it... as (Toledo) turns toward the officer," Cook County assistant state's attorney James Murphy said on Saturday in a bond hearing for Roman.
"(Toledo) has a gun in his right hand. The officer fires one shot at (Toledo), striking him in the chest," Murphy said.
The gun Toledo was allegedly holding, a Ruger 9mm, landed against a nearby fence, Murphy said, and the officer immediately rendered aid, but the 13-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
There was gunshot residue in the youngster's right hand, and shell casings that were found where Roman had allegedly been firing the weapon matched the Ruger, Murphy added.
Prosecutors have not indicated the point at which they say the gun ended up with Toledo.
On Thursday, Chicago network WGNTV reported that the Cook County state's attorney's office said prosecutor Murphy was in fact "not fully informed."
"An attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court," Sarah Sinovic, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, told WGN Investigates on Thursday.