Chicago Police Board president announces opinion in fatal Chicago police shooting of Adam Toledo

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Friday, October 21, 2022
CPD officer in Adam Toledo to face disciplinary hearing
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The Chicago Police Board recommendation means that officer could potentially face dismissal.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Police Board president has announced his recommendation for the officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo last year.

That recommendation says Officer Eric Stillman should face a disciplinary hearing.

RELATED | Bodycam video of Chicago police shooting of Adam Toledo released by COPA

Bodycam video shows Adam Toledo had his hands up and was not holding a gun when he was shot, but less than a second earlier appeared to have a gun in one hand, which he tossed away.

When making that announcement, Board President Ghian Foreman said it was about everyone hearing the facts.

"It is my opinion, based on a thorough review of the material, the parties and the public will benefit from a full evidentiary hearing on this matter," Foreman said.

The decision comes more than a year and a half after the teen was shot and killed after a foot chase in Little Village. Officer Eric Stillman fired the fatal shot a split second after Toledo dropped a gun behind a fence, and as the teen was turning and raising his hands.

It was also revealed Thursday that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended Stillman be fired.

RELATED: Chicago police shootings: Families of teen, man killed by CPD react to news of no charges

"We have findings that there was an improper use of deadly force and an improper protocols under the training bulletin that was in place at the time for foot pursuits," COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten said.

However, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown differed with COPA, recommending Stillman face a lesser punishment.

The police board -- under its random, single-member review process -- could have affirmed Brown's suspension recommendation, but by moving to a disciplinary hearing before the entire police board, it opens the door to Stillman's potential firing.

"With this ruling, I am not saying that the chief administrator's recommendation is right and that the superintendent is wrong," Foreman said at the board meeting.

Stillman's attorney also pointed out that earlier this year the Cook County State's Attorney's Office declined to pursue criminal charges in the case.

Full statement from the Toledo family's attorneys

"We thank COPA for its diligent efforts in this investigation and uncovering the truth of what transpired that fateful evening. We are relieved COPA has come to the conclusion that the shooting was unjustified, which is consistent with our understanding of the facts. We are grateful that the Chicago Police Board's independent reviewer concluded that the Chicago Police Superintendent's objections were insufficient to overcome COPA's conclusion that the officer who shot and killed Adam be discharged from the Chicago Police Department. We will now be moving forward with the next step in this process for Adam Toledo and his family. We look forward to a satisfactory resolution of this matter, justice for the Toledo family, and a safer Chicago community."

Full statement from Officer Stillman's attorney

"The Cook County State's Attorney's Office investigated this case and correctly concluded that the use of force by Officer Stillman was proper and consistent with Illinois law. There is no reason or justification for the City of Chicago to have sought termination in this case. The members of the Chicago Police Department are asked to work under amazingly difficult circumstances, yet still, come to work each day to protect the citizens from the gun-wielding offenders who terrorize our City. The work of the men and women of the Chicago Police Department should not be ostracized but rather given the appropriate amount of appreciation that is deserved. Adam Toledo's death is a tragedy, but a tragedy that was caused by the gang he chose to associate with. His death was due to that association not by the actions of Officer Stillman. I am extremely disappointed with the Chicago Police Board tonight. They missed an opportunity to stand with the members of our police department who do the heavy lifting. Officer Stillman is an honorably discharged United States Marine who has served his country and city with honor and courage and will face this next challenge in the same manner."

Full statement from COPA chief in response to Police Board President Ghian Foreman's opinion

"Today, Chicago Police Board President Ghian Foreman announced his opinion regarding the fatal officer-involved shooting of Adam Toledo on March 29, 2021, near 2400 S. Sawyer Street. COPA concluded the investigation into the actions of the involved officers, including the use of deadly force, within 13 months of the incident.

'As I've said before, this is not about winning or losing, but about facts, evidence and testimony being presented before the full Police Board before a final decision is determined," said COPA Chief Administrator Andrea Kersten. "Impacted parties and the residents of the city of Chicago deserve to have all the facts and evidence presented in a full, public hearing and we believe this case is deserving of a full evidentiary hearing before the entire Police Board and a review of the rules governing this process is warranted.'

'Under the current one-member review process, a single member of the Police Board can determine consequential cases without any identifiable legal standard and a potentially limited review of the evidence. As a result, cases involving the loss of life or other issues important to the community can be decided based on that single member's perception without the benefit of a full evidentiary hearing. My hope is we all understand the importance of having these issues presented fully in a neutral environment that provides due process for officers, procedural justice for impacted families, and transparency for the public. This is an opportunity for the City of Chicago to review this process.'

To read the full opinion presented by the Police Board, please visit: The Final Summary Report (FSR) which summarizes our findings and recommendations for discipline, will be released and posted on our website as soon as the involved officers are served with remaining discipline by the Department.

As Chicago's civilian police oversight agency, COPA is obligated to demonstrate our commitment to objectivity, integrity, transparency, and swift action when responding to misconduct."