Chicago's Toledo Shooting Will Be the Death Knell to Lori Lightfoot, Just Like Laquan McDonald was to Rahm Emmanuel

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The bodycam footage from the killing of 13-year old Adam Toledo was released today by Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). Along with the Officer’s footage, COPA released 16 body-cam videos, 4 third-party videos, a transmission from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, two audio recordings of 911 calls, six ShotSpotter recordings, and response and arrest reports.

The footage was previously reviewed by Toledo’s family and legal representation on April 13, 2021.

These are difficult to watch and hear, and what it shows is, in my opinion, still unclear. While people on Twitter have screen shot one very grainy moment where it appears Toledo has empty hands up, from my watching of the actual footage in real time, I feel it gives a different perspective.

Whatever conclusions are drawn, it does not bode well for the officer involved or for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

What amazes me is how quickly these things happen. This is why the bodycam footage is only one piece of the investigative puzzle, albeit an increasingly important one.

The footage shows the officer running down an alley to apprehend Toledo, and ordering him to stop:

“Freeze stop! Stop right f—ing now!

Toledo does stop, and there is a moment’s hesitation before the officer yells:

“Hey show me your f—ing hands! Drop it! Drop it!”

The officer fires the shot. From pursuit to the takedown, it was less than 10 seconds.

It is still unclear to me whether in that split second of hesitation if Toledo failed to drop the gun. The subsequent footage and transcripts show that there was a gun next to Toledo after he was shot.

My colleague Shipwreckedcrew dives more deeply into the footage, and his investigation also confirms the existence of a gun.

But just a week ago a prosecutor for Cook County who is handling the case against Roman stated in court that Toledo was armed at the time he was shot by police.  This statement was made long after the investigators had reviewed the video of Toledo being shot. There was a gun found at the scene, and Roman was charged following his arrest with the “negligent discharge of a firearm.”  There was a handgun recovered at the scene.

This is another tragedy, and will only add to the inflated pile of police- shootings involving a white officer and a person of color.

The videos come amid rising tensions nationwide over fatal police shootings and deaths in police custody, including the shooting of Daunte Wright, 20, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, miles from where former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in the death of George Floyd. Thursday, Lightfoot acknowledged Wright’s killing and the trial “have only heightened feelings of pain and anger.”

Lines are being clearly drawn between this shooting death, and the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

As I wrote earlier today,

This hearkens back to the 2014 Laquan McDonald officer-involved shooting, a 17-year old Black kid who was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, the Chicago Police Department, and the District Attorney’s office appeared to drag their feet in releasing the bodycam footage. When the video footage was released over a year later, it sparked unrest and protests, but nowhere near what is occurring in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota and other cities across the nation.

The Laquan McDonald shooting and the botched response by city officials and law enforcement helped destroy Rahm Emmanuel’s dreams of becoming Chicago’s next kingpin mayor. That designation has only been held by two people: Daley the father (Richard J. Daley) and Daley the scion (Richard M. Daley).

It was a pipedream, as Emmanuel was hated by constituents and pols alike; but, a dream, nonetheless.

The shooting of 13-year old Adam Toledo will no doubt be the death knell to Lori Lightfoot’s mayoral career too.