The question isn’t whether the shot that ended that teen’s life was a good or bad decision, the question is whether lethal force was justified in that situation.
Much of the public has made up their mind already, as evidenced by protests chanting the kid’s name, and spilling over into various criminal acts.
But before we go off half-cocked, this is a good moment to remember what Solomon said about hearing just one side of any story.
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
We’ve heard the media pile on the cop who chased Adam Toledo down that alley. (One news outlet went so far as cropping the photo to hide the fact that Adam had been holding a gun.)
What most of us have NOT yet heard is the CONTEXT of those events. In most cases, the context makes all the difference. This time is no exception.
For example, while many outlets regale us with stories about how wonderful Adam was, how many others have made mention of his less than wonderful nickname?
Reports of Adam Toledo, the teen shot dead by Chicago police officer in March, being part of a gang started trending after tributes terming him ‘Lil’ Homicide’ and ‘Bvby Diablo’ surfaced on social media. The body cam footage released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) caught Toledo throwing away a gun just seconds before he was fatally shot in the chest by the cop.
Toledo and another 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, were spotted by the police officers responding to a call of shots being fired around 2:30 am on March 29. While Roman, who managed to flee the spot, was captured and arrested by the cops, Toledo was also chased by another cop on foot into the alley. — IBTimes
That isn’t exactly accurate, so far as the timeline goes. Other reporting tells us exactly how many milliseconds had passed between the moment he dropped the gun and the moment he was shot. It was under one second.
There is more information that will help shape our understanding of what did or didn’t happen in those early morning hours.
For example, have you read about what was being shot at when the response call went out in the first place? (That detail matters.)
The following is a statement from the lawyer of the officer who chased Adam down that alley at 230 in the morning. If the claims are accurate, this would significantly change the public perception of what happened in the moments leading up to that fatal encounter.
Hat tip AndyNgo for tweeting the official statement. (Emphasis in original)
‘Full statement attributable to Tim Grace, attorney for CPD Officer Eric Stillman’
There is irrefutable evidence that the adult offender and the juvenile offender were standing on the corner of 22nd and Sawyer. One was flashing gang signs and the other was firing a semiautomatic handgun at a passing car.
There is irrefutable evidence that the shell casings removed from that location match the handgun that was in the hands of the juvenile when he was tragically shot by the officer.
There is irrefutable evidence that the shot spotter alerted the Chicago Police to these shots (in excess of 8) and the officers responded within a minute.
The juvenile offender had the gun in his right hand, came to a fence, looked at the officer which could be interpreted as attempting to acquire a target and began to turn to face the officer, attempting to swing the gun in his direction.
At this point, the officer was faced with a life-threatening and deadly force situation. All prior attempts to deescalate and gain compliance with all of the officers lawful orders had failed.
The officer had no place to take cover or concealment, the gun was being orientate in his direction and he was left with no other option.
The media’s rush to judgment is disrespectful to all Chicago Police Officers who proudly wear the badge and who, at risk to their own personal peril, keep our City safe. A responsible media should not fan the flames in our community but rather should honestly and objectively inform the citizenry of the facts. Bias reporting does nothing to heal the distrust and stop the gun violence.
The juvenile offender had a freshly inked Latin King gang tattoo, and 22nd and Sawyer is the heart of Latin King territory. This street gang causes unbelievable danger to the law-abiding Chicagoans who live, work, and raise their families in this community. It is a tragedy that a young person is stolen from his family by a street gang in Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot correctly stated she wanted to get the person who gave Mr. Toledo the gun. Fortunately, we know who that person is, and he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.