A Chicago prosecutor is now on leave after allegedly spreading misinformation when he suggested, in court, that 13-year-old Adam Toledo, was armed when he was shot by police in the city’s Little Village neighborhood, even though the video, released by Chicago Police, seems to show Toledo holding a gun just seconds before the police officer discharges his weapon.
The Toledo video, released late last week, shows Chicago Police responding to an early morning call of gunshots. After spotting Toledo, the police give chase, eventually running into Toledo in an alley. One cop can be heard warning the 13-year-old to “turn around and drop the gun.”
The video shows Toledo turning toward the officer with his hand still behind him. He drops the gun behind him and turns with his hands up and in view of the officer. At the same time, the officer fires the fatal shot. The space of time is a fraction of a second, and it is difficult to tell whether the officer knew Toledo was complying with his order when he fired.
Other videos taken from Chicago PD surveillance cameras, nearby security cameras, and officer bodycam footage, viewed by the Chicago Tribune, seem to show that Toldeo threw the gun away just moments before the officer fired, per the Tribune’s report.
Prosecutors, however, said in court that Toledo had the gun in his hand when he was shot, effectively misrepresenting the video.
“At a court hearing last week for Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old with Toledo on the night of his death, [Assistant State’s Attorney James] Murphy had suggested in his description of the shooting that the 13-year-old had a gun in his hand when he was shot by Chicago Police Officer Eric Stillman,” Forbes reported Sunday.
“Toledo had a gun in his right hand as he turned toward the officer,” Murphy said, according to the court record. “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 State’s Attorney’s office rebutted Murphy’s statement when it began to trend on social media, saying in a statement that Murphy was in error and “[e]rrors like that cannot happen and this has been addressed with the individual involved. The video speaks for itself.”
They added that Murphy “did not fully inform himself” before participating in the hearing: “an attorney who works in this office failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court.”
On Sunday, the State’s Attorney’s office announced that Murphy was suspended.
“In court last week, an attorney in our office failed to fully present the facts surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy,” a spokesperson for the State’s Attorney told The Hill. “We have put that individual on leave and are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.”
Media outlets are also under fire for editing the Toledo video. CBS is facing a serious backlash for allegedly splicing the footage to demonstrate, more clearly, that Toldeo was not armed when he was shot.
“CBS News is facing heat over a video the network shared on Twitter Thursday that critics say crops out a critical part of body camera footage showing the police chase that led to 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s death in Chicago last month,” Fox News reported late last week. CBS News, the network added, “tweeted a video formatted for mobile devices. As a result, both sides of the bodycam footage were cropped and the image of Toledo holding the gun was omitted.”
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