Adam Toledo shooting: Activists, residents lose patience with persistent Chicago police violence

Friday, April 16, 2021
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CHICAGO (WLS) -- In Adam Toledo's neighborhood of Little Village and beyond, Chicago activists and residents have lost patience for police violence.

Long-brewing frustration reignited in a verbal confrontation outside CPD headquarters in Bronzeville, this time over video of a 13-year-old boy, who once dreamed of being a police officer himself, being shot and killed by a CPD officer as he ran down a Little Village alley.

RELATED: Video of teen killed in Chicago police shooting released by COPA

"An officer here in the city of Chicago assassinated a 13-year-old as he put his hands up," said Baltazar Enriquez, president, Little Village Community Council. "That video, the truth came out. Adam had his hands up. And this type of officers are the officers that they send to my community. They send killers to my community, not police officers."

Nowhere has reaction to that tape been more visceral than Little Village, the working class Latino neighborhood where Toledo was born and raised.

RELATED: CPD shows Toledo video compilation to media ahead of public release

After demanding to see the video for weeks, residents openly sobbed on the street. Some said they couldn't bring themselves to watch.

"When I seen the video today, something inside of me died," said Kristian Armendiaz, Little Village Community Council. "I couldn't even bear to watch the whole video by myself. I felt like my childhood just died."

RELATED: How to talk to your child about the Adam Toledo police shooting video

"When they saw that video today, I thought about my three kids. I thought about the teenagers, the youth of Little Village. We need to start funding the community," said Maria Castillo, Little Village resident.

A few people stopped by a makeshift memorial that marks the spot where Toledo took his last breath. The pastor of the church near the scene said the video made him think of his own children and grandchildren growing up in the community.

Meanwhile, a small group of activists gathered peacefully at Millennium Park and laid out banners near the Bean. From there they marched through the streets of downtown, stopping at certain points to rally, speak, and pray.

"He put his hands up and was still murdered. So I have a question: what more could he have done?" said Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef, Chicago Activist Coalition for Justice.

Dozens of protesters marched up Michigan Avenue to the Mag Mile, including mothers whose sons were also killed by Chicago police. All voices support for the Toledo family.

"I want to say to the momma, I'm here with you in solidarity. We will fight with you all the way," said Gloria Pinex, whose son was killed by a Chicago police officer.

"We are constantly burying our kids and there is no justice being served. What do they want us to do?" said Chantall Brooks, whose son was killed by a Chicago police officer.

Organizers promised a peaceful protest, but businesses in the downtown area still boarded up windows, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year, when looters targeted businesses twice. The city also said it has placed salt trucks and dump trucks at strategic points to keep corridors open.