U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has accused a prosecutor in the Adam Toledo police shooting-death case in Chicago of lying in a Thursday tweet.
The prosecutor and Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy told a court earlier this month that video showed Toledo, a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, had a gun in his hand when he was shot.
But Ocasio-Cortez has since accused him of lying ‘about the police killing a child’ after a newly released body camera video still appeared to show that Toledo's hands were in the air and empty when he was shot.
Video showed the teen appearing to drop a handgun and raising his hands right before the cop opened fire. A handgun was also found near where he was shot.
Police say the teen had a handgun on him that morning, and that less than a second passed from when Toledo is seen with a gun in hand and when Stillman opened fire.
The Cook County State's Attorney office said in a statement that the prosecutor 'failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court. Errors like that cannot happen and this has been addressed with the individual involved. The video speaks for itself.'
AOC did not accept the explanation. 'The prosecutor did not "make an error." He lied,' the Democrat Representative from New York's 14th congressional district wrote.
'He lied about the police killing a child,' she added. 'Ending this isn’t just about consequences for who pulls the trigger. It’s about admitting to and confronting an entire system that exists to protect, defend, and cover up state violence.'
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has accused the prosecutor in the Adam Toledo police shooting-death case in Chicago of lying in a Thursday tweet. Pictured: AOC speaks at a press conference in Washington DC, April 15, 2021
The prosecutor did not "make an error." He lied,' the Democrat Representative from New York's 14th congressional district wrote. 'He lied about the police killing a child,' she added. 'Ending this isn’t just about consequences for who pulls the trigger. It’s about admitting to and confronting an entire system that exists to protect, defend, and cover up state violence.'
A still frame of the newly released footage of the shooting that killed 13-year-old Toledo on March 29 shows he was not holding anything.
The footage also shows that he had his hands up when the officer - later identified as Eric E. Stillman - shot him once in the chest.
Video appears to show the boy throwing something away that could have been a gun, and gun residue was later found on the teen's hand, but it is clear from the footage he was not holding anything when he was shot.
However, over the weekend, prosecutors had described the events of the video - that had not yet been made public at the time - as the judge set bond at $150,000 for the 21-year-old who was with Toledo at the time of the fatal shooting.
Lawyers prosecuting Ruben Roman, who was represented by a public defender at a Cook County bond court hearing, was charged with a reckless discharge of a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and child endangerment, according to NBC Chicago.
Prosecutors told the court that video captured Roman firing shots before police responded to the scene, who dropped gloves on the ground that later tested positive for gunshot residue.
The other officer on the scene then chased Toledo, telling him to stop repeatedly, who eventually complied near a break in a wooden fence, prosecutors said.
The prosecutor told a court earlier this month that Toledo, a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, had a gun in his hand when he was killed. Pictured: A still frame of police body camera footage, moments before Toledo was shot
The 13-year-old boy was then ordered by the officer to show his hands, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy said.
Prosecutors said the boy was told to 'drop it, drop it' as Toledo, with a gun in his right hands (according to prosecutors), turned towards the officer. The officer opened fire, hitting the teen once in the chest.
The prosecutors then said the gun Toledo was holding landed a few feet away, despite it being shown in the now-released footage that he was not holding anything when he was shot by officer Stillman.
The Congresswoman has been one of the top critics of law enforcement amid a number of killings by police officers that have sparked nationwide outrage.
Many in the United States are nervously awaiting the outcome of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the first of four officers charged in George Floyd's May 2020 death.
Protests have been seen in Minneapolis - where George Floyd died - after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright at the hand of police officer Kim Potter.
Both Floyd, Wright, and other victims that caught national attention such as Breonna Taylor, were all black and killed by white police officers, leading to Black Lives Matter protests across the country since the summer of 2020.
The Chicago Police Department released a photo of the gun that was recovered from the scene after one of its officers shot and killed Adam Toledo last Monday
Ocasio-Cortez was not the only person in the House of Representatives to express their outrage at the killing of 13-year-old Toledo.
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., a fellow member of 'The Squad' - a group of progressive Democrats - tweeted: 'He was 13 years old and the police executed him' last on Thursday after the released of the footage of the shooting.
Chigaco's police review board released the body camera footage of the March 29 shooting on Thursday.
Police say the teen had a handgun on him that morning, and that less than a second passed from when Toledo is seen with a gun in hand and when Stillman opened fire.
The bodycam footage shows the officer shining a light on a handgun on the ground near the teen after he shot him.
Earlier footage also appears to show the boy was carrying a gun in the moments before he was shot, throwing it behind a fence before turning to face the cop.
An attorney for Adam's family said Thursday: 'It could be a gun, I’m not going to deny that but it’s not relevant, because if he had a gun, he tossed it.'
The video's release has left Chicago on a knife edge, and police were on high alert on Thursday that the Latin Kings gang could retaliate for the shooting which took place in their neighborhood of Little Village.
Some businesses in downtown Chicago's 'Magnificent Mile' shopping district boarded up their windows in anticipation of protests turning violent. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on the public to keep the peace.
Footage appears to show the boy was carrying a gun in the moments before he was shot, throwing it behind a fence
Police say the teen had a handgun on him that morning, and the bodycam footage shows the officer shining a light on a handgun on the ground near Toledo after he shot him in the early hours of March 29. Toldeo can be seeing in the gap in the fence above
Video shows the pursuing officer ordering Toledo to stop and show his hands, which the teen is seen doing in the screenshot above
The officer fired a single shot, striking Toledo in the upper chest, after yelling at him to show his hands and 'drop it'
Chicago released body camera video on Thursday showing 13-year-old Adam Toledo turning around while being chased by a police officer on March 29
Cop who shot 13-year-old Adam is named as Eric Stillman, 34
The Chicago Police Department typically doesn’t release the names of officers involved in such shootings this early on in an investigation, but Eric Stillman’s name, age and race — he’s 34 and white — were listed in the investigation reports released Thursday.
Adam's family attorney said that she looked into Stillman’s record but found no prior disciplinary issues.
The 10th district patrol officer - who joined the force in August 2015 - has been placed on administrative leave.
Records show he received a Military Service Award from the Police Department.
He was also awarded the Superintendent’s Award of Valor, Block Club Chicago reports.
Whether the officer is charged with a crime is up to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, which gets the accountability board’s report after it completes its investigation.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, an independent board that investigates Chicago police shootings, released the graphic footage Thursday after allowing Toledo's family to view it privately on Tuesday.
Police had said they responded before dawn on the morning of the shooting after a police technology detected gun shots there.
The teen, who was Latino, and a 21-year-old, named as Ruben Roman Jr, fled on foot when confronted by police, and an officer shot the teen once in the chest following a foot chase during what the department described as an armed confrontation.
Roman Jr was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
The footage shows that it took 19 seconds from which the officer - who has been as Eric Stillman, 34, - exited his squad car to when he shot the teen.
After getting out of the vehicle, the officer chases Toledo on foot down an alley for several seconds.
'Stop right f***ing now!' the officer yells at the fleeing teen. 'Show me your f***ing hands! Drop it'
When Toledo turns around to face the officer, he appears to raise his hands. A moment later, a single shot rings out and the teen collapses to the ground, with blood gushing from his mouth.
The officer radios in 'shot fired,' lays Toledo flat on his back and begins frantically looking for the wound. 'Stay with me, stay with me,' he implores the mortally wounded Toledo.
Another officer rushes over with a medical kit and the two begin administering CPR. 'I'm not feeling a heartbeat,' the officer says.
Adam's family attorney Adeena Weiss-Ortiz said Thursday: 'Those videos speak for themselves. If you are shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air it is an assassination.
'His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer.
'Adam during his last seconds of life did not have a gun in his hand. Adam complied. He did not have a gun in his hand. The officer saw his hands were up and pulled the trigger.'
The attorney added: 'It is especially important to keep the peace. [The family] want justice.'
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had called for the video's release but urged people to keep calm and remain peaceful in an emotional press conference. Shops are boarded up Thursday
Chicago Police officers guard the front entrance the their headquarters building during a rally in a protest of killed of 13-year-old Adam Toledo Thursday
. Toledo was shot to death by an officer on March 29 in an alley west of the 2300 block of South Sawyer Avenue in Little Village on the Southwest Side
Protesters march down Michigan Avenue in the Loop after the city of Chicago released videos of 13-year-old Adam Toledo being fatally shot by a Chicago police officer
Dozens of protesters march down the Magnificent Mile Thursday. The Toledo family issued a statement urging people to 'remain peaceful'
Activist Ja'Mal Green reacts as he walks towards a line of police officers outside Chicago police headquarters during a rally Thursday
Activist Ja'Mal Green, center, along with other protestors react towards a line of Chicago police officers during a rally outside of Chicago police headquarters after the body camera video release of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on Thursday
Video shows the officer who fired on Toledo radioing in, 'shot fired,' then frantically trying to find the wound. He yells out for a colleague to bring a medical kit
Despite efforts to revive Toledo, as seen in the body camera video the teen died from his injury
The board initially said it couldn't release the video because it involved the shooting of a minor, but it changed course after Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago's police superintendent called for the video's release.
Footage of the Toledo shooting had been widely anticipated in the city, where the release of some previous police shooting videos sparked major protests, including the 2015 release of footage of a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, killing him.
Lightfoot said the city has been preparing for months for a verdict in the Chauvin trial and that it had activated a 'neighborhood protection plan.'
The Toledo family, meanwhile, issued a statement urging people to 'remain peaceful.'
Small groups of protesters gathered at a police station and marched downtown Thursday night.
Shadows on a fence show the officer who shot Toledo is seen being comforted by a colleague
Toledo passed away after suffering a single gunshot wound to the upper chest
Choking up at times, Mayor Lightfoot had earlier decried the city's long history of police violence and misconduct, especially in Black and brown communities, and said too many young people are left vulnerable to 'systemic failures that we simply must fix.'
'We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,' the mayor said. 'So while we don´t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain. It is even clearer that trust between our community and law enforcement is far from healed and remains badly broken.'
Asked whether the video showed whether the teen fired on the officer, Lightfoot said she had seen no evidence that he had. She described watching the jumpy footage as 'excruciating.'
'As a mom, this is not something you want children to see,' said the mayor. She declined to say if the footage showed whether the teen was holding a gun when he was shot, but she called a prosecutor's assertion at a recent hearing that Toledo had a gun when he was shot 'correct.'
The release comes in the wake of the traffic-stop shooting of Daunte Wright by a an officer in a Minneapolis suburb that has sparked protests as the broader Minneapolis area nervously awaits the outcome of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the first of four officers charged in George Floyd´s death.
In a lengthy email, Stillman's attorney Tim Grace said Toledo left the officer no choice but to shoot.
'The juvenile offender had the gun in his right hand ... 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,' Grace wrote.
'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 officer's lawful orders had failed.'
Attorney Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, pictured, for Adam's family said Thursday: 'Those videos speak for themselves. If you are shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air it is an assassination'
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on people to keep calm and remain peaceful during a news conference at City Hall on Thursday ahead of the release of the video showing Toledo's shooting
Protesters holding signs navigate along Chicago's South Michigan Avenue during a peaceful protest on Wednesday, ahead of the video release of Toledo's shooting
The review board declined to release all but the most basic details of what happened, leaving many questions unanswered, including whether or not the boy pointed the gun at the officer or fired on him before the officer shot him.
Some details did emerge at a hearing for Roman Jr, who authorities say was with Toledo the night he died, including prosecutors' contention that the man fired the gun several times before officers arrived and had handed it to the teen.
Elizabeth Toledo, Adam's mother, came forward over the weekend and issued a plea for calm following reports that members of the Latin Kings gang planned on seeking revenge for her son's death by shooting at unmarked police vehicles.
'No one has anything to gain by inciting violence,' she said via a statement Sunday. 'Adam was a sweet and loving boy. He would not want anyone else to be injured or die in his name.'
Elizabeth said her son had hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement in the future. 'He was so full of life. They just took it away from him,' she said.
Neither Mayor Lightfoot nor Superintendent David Brown has discussed the shooting in detail or suggested the officer did anything wrong.
Elizabeth Toledo (left) is pictured with her son, Adam (right), who she said was 'full for life' and wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement
But the video's release comes at a time of inflamed tensions between police and the public. Besides the ongoing trial of Chauvin, the country has in recent days watched video of the fatal shooting of Wright, and a police officer in Virginia pepper-spraying a Black and Latino U.S. Army second lieutenant during another traffic stop.
The Chicago Police Department has a long history of brutality and racism that has fomented mistrust among the city´s many Black and Hispanic residents. Adding to that mistrust is the city´s history of suppressing damning police videos.
The city fought for months to keep the public from seeing the 2014 video of a white officer shoot a Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times, killing him. The officer was eventually convicted of murder.
And the city tried to stop a TV news station from broadcasting video of a botched 2019 police raid in which an innocent, naked, Black woman wasn't allowed to put on clothes until after she was handcuffed.