Chicago releases video of cops killing unarmed 13-year-old

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Authorities in Chicago released police body camera footage yesterday showing an officer shooting dead a 13-year-old Latino boy as the mayor of America's third-largest city appealed for calm over the "excruciating" video.

A handgun the teen was carrying was recovered at the scene, police said.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability plans to release at 2:30 p.m. Thursday the footage captured by cameras worn by the officers who chased Toledo in the early morning hours of March 29 in the 2300 block of south Sawyer Avenue following a ShotSpotter notification of eight gunshots in the area.

Tensions over racism and policing are already high in the U.S. as nearby Minneapolis hosts the trial of a white former policeman charged with murdering African-American George Floyd in the same week that the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black motorist sparked violent protests in a suburb of the city.

Prior to the release of the video, Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed reporters and the city on Thursday, describing it as "incredibly hard to watch".

"Simply put, we failed Adam", Lightfoot said, calling for more social services for children and families who are struggling.

"We live in a city that is traumatised by a long history of police violence and misconduct", the mayor said.

Police work at the scene of a fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago Police officer on March 29, 2021.

"I don't want to get into the real substance of this because the independent investigation is going on, but I've seen no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at the police", Lightfoot said.

The officer radios in 'shot fired, ' lays Toledo flat on his back and begins frantically looking for the wound.

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Toledo then turns toward the camera, the officer yells "Drop it!" and midway between repeating that command, he opens fire and the teen drops to the ground. 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 incident, along with Sunday's fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb and the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, has raised tensions in Chicago. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Before the video's release, some businesses in downtown Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" shopping district boarded up their windows.

"It happens now that these circumstances are sitting next to each other", she said.

Toledo's family said in a statement released to local media that they appreciated the support they had received from the community and were grateful that protests in Chicago over the last few days remained peaceful.

"We acknowledge that the release of this video is the first step in the process toward the healing of the family, the community and our city", the joint statement read.

"Those videos speak for themselves".

"COPA has advised family representatives that, while it is acutely sensitive to the family's grief and their desire to avoid public release of materials related to Adam's tragic death, COPA is mandated to comply with the City's Video Release Policy", the agency said in its state.

The city fought for months to keep the public from seeing the 2014 video of a white officer shooting McDonald 16 times, killing him. The officer shouts "Drop it" and fires his weapon - 19 seconds after exiting his squad auto.

Asked Wednesday if she would prefer for the video to be released after Chauvin's trial, the mayor said that was "not really part of the calculus".

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