Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told media Wednesday that she is considering instituting a “momentous” change to Chicago police procedure following the police-involved shooting death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo: requiring that Chicago Police Department officers receive express permission from a supervisor before engaging in a foot chase.
“No one should die as a result of a foot chase,” Lightfoot said, adding that the city plans to unveil the policy change “soon.”
Chicago officials confirmed to the city’s Fox affiliate that the mayor’s office plans on tacking foot chases as part of its “police reform” plan.
“Alderman Brian Hopkins says an official in the mayor’s office told him officers could soon be required prior to a foot chase to do what is now required before a vehicle chase: getting permission from higher-ups,” Fox 32 Chicago reported.
“Of course that raises obvious problems,” Hopkins added, per Fox 32. “In the time it would take to do that, the person you’re supposed to be chasing is actually long gone. The point would be moot then.”
It is not clear whether the policy would apply in situations where a suspect who flees from police on foot is clearly armed.
The city released police bodycam footage of the chase and confrontation that led to Toldeo’s death last week, triggering widespread backlash and protests. The video shows police, called to the city’s Little Village neighborhood just after 2:00 am to investigate possible gunshots and gang activity, chase after Toldeo, who turns out to be armed. Once the suspect is cornered, the police can be heard telling Toledo to drop his weapon, then one officer fires.
The interaction is difficult to parse out, but it appears Toledo drops his weapons and raises his hands just a split-second before the officer involved fires his weapon, per CNN.
Chicago’s mayor, it seems, believes the issue originated with the police who gave chase after spotting what they believed was an armed suspect, and not with Toledo.
“This is a tragedy that could have and should have been prevented had the police department had clear procedures governing the use of lethal force against children during foot chases,” one attorney urging reform said in a press conference, though it is not clear police were aware of Toledo’s age before the confrontation.
It is also not clear whether the city’s proposed change in police policy would help address what has become an ever-growing crisis of violence. Since last summer, Chicago has been suffering under a major spike in shootings and homicides, and nearly 1,000 people have been shot since the beginning of 2021. Just under 200 people — 171 — have been killed by gun violence.
Just last weekend, Chicago’s ABC affiliate notes, 24 people were shot and three people were killed in incidents across the city.
Arguably the most tragic gun-related incident involves a 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed while she and her 29-year-old father were waiting for their order in a McDonald’s drive-thru.
As The Daily Wire noted Tuesday, the horrific incident has drawn little attention from activists. Lightfoot addressed the shooting only briefly on social media.
“This unthinkable act of violence has no place here. The epidemic of gun violence cutting our children’s lives short cannot go on,” she tweeted.