COPA to release video in Little Village Chicago police shooting as boy's family seeks justice for 'reprehensible crime'

Adam Toledo, 13-year-old shot in Little Village, wanted to become a police officer, family said

Friday, April 2, 2021
COPA to release video of Little Village officer-involved shooting of boy as family seeks justice
After a Little Village shooting, the family of Adam Toledo, a teen fatally shot by Chicago police earlier this week, wants justice for the "reprehensible crime."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a 13-year-old boy killed by Chicago police earlier this week in an "armed confrontation" has hired an attorney and wants to seek justice for his death.

Adam Toledo was shot and killed by police Monday after an early morning Shot Spotter alert in the 2300-block of South Sawyer.

The teen was identified Thursday as Toledo of Little Village by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced in a statement Friday afternoon that they will release video and other materials pertaining to the fatal officer-involved shooting.

"COPA has determined that certain provisions of state law intended to protect the confidentiality of juvenile records do not prohibit the agency's release of material related to its investigation of a Chicago Police Officer's fatal shooting of 13-year old Adam Toledo. COPA's General Counsel concluded that the Juvenile Court Act does not bar publication of the body worn and third-party video camera footage the agency has obtained to date. COPA will therefore follow established City policy, which requires public posting of material at the earliest point possible but no later than 60 days after the incident. COPA is currently working with the Toledo family and their representative to arrange for a review of the troubling video footage. Again our condolences are with the Toledo family during this challenging time."

The family also confirmed Friday that they will be able to view the police body camera video of the shooting next week as they continue to struggle with this tremendous loss.

Officers say the 13-year-old was armed and fled from police with another suspect.

WATCH | Mother demands justice for 13-year-old son killed by police

Adam Toledo, 13, was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in Little Village Monday during what police called an "armed confrontation."

Toledo's life ended in an alley after what Chicago police say was an "armed confrontation." The officer fired one shot, according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Chicago police said the young teen from Little Village was armed and fled from police with another suspect

"They had a lot of options, but not kill him! They could have shot at his leg, his arm, up in the air -- I don't know, but not kill my baby," said Elizabeth Toledo, the boy's mother.

Police shared a photo of a gun allegedly recovered at the scene. A second suspect, 21-year-old Ruben Roman, is charged in the incident with a misdemeanor for resisting an officer.

A source told ABC 7 Chicago Roman is a known gang member.

"Adam was a good kid. He had no criminal history, he went to Gary Elementary School. He shared time with his four siblings and all we know is that he was shot," said the Toledo family's attorney, Adeena Weiss-Ortiz.

"This boy obviously needed help, the system failed him and the streets got him before we did," said 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas.

Pastor Ramiro Rodriguez's church is just yards away from where the shooting took place. On this Good Friday, he changed the liturgical linen to white symbolizing purity and renewal for Easter, which is something he said the Little Village community needs, especially after Toledo's death.

"Two years ago, one dead on the corner. Last year, another one over here on this corner. Now this year, another one? So what's gonna be for next year? We need to stop this," Rodriguez said. "This year we're gonna have 15 years serving our community, making sure our people, our young kids, have food on their tables. And look what happened: We are losing a child every year."

The family is waiting to see that body camera video of the shooting next week before deciding to file any potential lawsuit. A vigil is being planned for Monday.

The boy's family released a statement overnight Thursday, calling his death the result of "unreasonable conduct of a Chicago Police Officer."

The statement also said that although Toledo was killed Monday, his family was not notified for two days.

WATCH | Family of Adam Toledo, teen killed by CPD in Little Village speak out

The family of Adam Toledo, a teen killed by CPD in Little Village, spoke out during a press conference Friday.

"Adam was a seventh-grade student at Gary school, enjoyed sports and was a good kid. He did not deserve to die the way he did," the statement said. "The Toledo Family will seek justice for this reprehensible crime."

Weiss Ortiz PC is now representing the family.

In a press conference Friday afternoon, Elizabeth Toledo, the boy's mother, and the family's lawyer, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, thanked the community for their support and asked for privacy during this difficult time.

Alderman George Cardenas of the 12th Ward said Friday that questions remain as to why Roman was with Toledo in the middle of the night.

"We need to get ahold of ourselves and right the rudder in a big way, and that's the outreach to youth organizations to see what's going on on the ground, and it's gonna take some resources, but we have to do it," Cardenas said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling for the release of bodycam video from the incident.

The incident was caught on body camera video, but initially, COPA said they were unable to be released without a court order given Toledo's young age.

A spokesperson for COPA said in an updated statement late Thursday: "COPA is currently making every effort and researching all legal avenues that will allow for the public release of all video materials which capture the tragic fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo."

"He was so full of life," Toledo said on Thursday. "They just took it away from him."

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Toledo was overwhelmed with loss and surrounded by family as she planned her 13-year-old son's funeral.

"I just want justice. I just want answers ... what happened?" Toledo said. "I just want justice for my son. That's all."

Toledo's mom said he used to sneak out at night while she was asleep, and she had filed a missing person's report for her son last Thursday after she noticed he was missing.

She told ABC7 that Toledo eventually came back on Saturday, but had snuck out again Sunday night.

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"Why did he shot at him if there's other ways?" Toledo said. "He was a little boy. Obviously he was gonna get scared."

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Toledo's mom said he had aspirations of becoming a police officer one day.

The officer involved in the shooting was placed on desk duty for 30 days while the Civilian Office of Police Accountability investigates the shooting, police said.


"Adam Toledo was killed early Monday morning, due to the unreasonable conduct of a Chicago Police Officer. We are confident that the Chicago Police Department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability will conduct a thorough investigation, that there will be transparency, and that the Toledo Family will find out the truth of what happened to Adam. Adam was killed on March 29th, 2021, but the Toledo Family was only notified of his death two days later. Adam was a seventh-grade student at Garvey School, enjoyed sports and was a good kid. He did not deserve to die the way he did. The Toledo Family will seek justice for this reprehensible crime and requests privacy during this time of mourning. The Toledo Family is represented by Weiss Ortiz PC."