Apr 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutor on leave for failing to "fully present the facts" after shooting of 13-year-old boy

Two women stand in front of a crowd wearing face masks and beanies
People march through Larimer Square as they protest the deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo on April 17 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Cook County prosecutor James Murphy was placed on administrative leave Friday after he implied in court that 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a police officer in March, was armed when he was shot, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times report.

Why it matters: Videos of the shooting show that Toledo, who was Latino, dropped what appears to be a weapon and put his hands in the air a moment before before he was fatally shot. A lawyer for the Toledo family said Thursday that if the teen "had a gun, he tossed it."

  • "The officer said, ‘Show me your hands.’ He complied. He turned around," the attorney added.

Details: At an April 10 bond hearing, Murphy told Judge Susana Ortiz that Toledo did not drop the gun until after he was shot, per the Sun-Times.

  • “The officer tells [Adam] to drop it as [Adam] turns towards the officer. [Adam] has a gun in his right hand,” Murphy said. “The officer fires one shot at [Adam], striking him in the chest. The gun that [Adam] was holding landed against the fence a few feet away.”
  • Toledo's killing shines a spotlight on police shootings of Latinos, who are killed by law enforcement at the second-highest rate after Black Americans, according to data from the Washington Post.

What they're saying: “In court last week, an attorney in our office failed to fully present the facts surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy,” Foxx spokeswoman Sarah Sinovic said in a statement, per the Sun-Times.

  • “We have put that individual on leave and are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.”
  • “For many of you it may have been jarring to see our statement regarding this matter,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx reportedly wrote in a letter to prosecutors on Friday night. “It is indeed a rarity to see the Office make such a public statement related to the actions of an [assistant state’s attorney]. It was not done lightly.”

The big picture: Amid former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial — which advocates have described as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades after Chauvin was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd — killings of Black people by police have continued to fuel nationwide protest.

  • Protests continued after Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, was released on a $100,000 bond on Wednesday.
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