Toledo family attorneys praise peaceful protests, ask it stay that way

Toledo family attorneys praise peaceful protests, ask it stay that way

A memorial sits at the mouth of the alleyway where Adam Toledo was shot and killed last month by Chicago police near 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“We have heard reports in the media that more protests are planned today … we pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform,” a family statement said.

The day after the family of slain 13-year-old Adam Toledo viewed video of the teen being shot to death by Chicago police, they issued another statement showing support for recent peaceful protests over Adam’s killing and calling for future protests to remain nonviolent as well.

“We appreciate the community support and are grateful that events so far have remained peaceful,” the statement said Wednesday. “We have heard reports in the media that more protests are planned today, and while we have no direct knowledge of such events, we pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform.”

Tuesday evening, relatives of Adam had gone to the offices of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to view footage of the boy’s March 29 killing by a Chicago police officer.

Toledo family attorneys later said it was an “extremely difficult and heartbreaking” experience for everyone in the room.

COPA has said it is honoring the Toledo family’s request not to release the body camera video to the public immediately but says it is mandated to do so eventually.

Wednesday morning, COPA didn’t immediately respond to questions from the Chicago Sun-Times about when they will release the video to the public.

Also Wednesday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has seen “multiple videos” of Adam’s shooting.

Lightfoot, however, refused to describe what she saw or the conclusions she drew from that viewing, for fear of compromising ongoing investigations by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Cook County State’s attorney’s office.

The mayor would only reiterate what the Toledo family said after its own private showing: that public release of the shooting videos would be delayed out of deference to the family.

“This is a difficult set of circumstances. First and foremost, we have a family that is still incredibly in the throes of grief. A mom and father who have lost their son, siblings who have lost their brother.Grandparents. I want to be respectful of the family,” the mayor said after joining Gov. J.B. Pritzker in Jackson Park to announce the start of “pre-construction” work tied to the Obama Presidential Center.

“But I also do think that [with] something like a police-involved shooting, particularly under these circumstances, it’s important for us to be transparent. We tried to be as transparent as we can and we’re gonna work with the family to move this process along. But I think we have to be respectful of them and move at their speed. And that’s what we’re attempting to do in balancing a range of different issues.”

The mayor was asked whether the delay has anything to do with any Chicago protests and unrest that may be triggered by a verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minnesota for the murder of George Floyd.

“That’s really not part of the calculus at all,” the mayor said. “This is about being respectful and balancing the need for transparency with this grieving family that’s having an extraordinarily difficult time.”

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