Apr 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Latino community of 13-year-old killed by police in Chicago reels after shooting

A small memorial of flowers and candles to Adam Toledo in Chicago
A small memorial of flowers and candles to Adam Toledo in Chicago. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Residents of Little Village, a well-known and predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago, are grieving the death of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Mexican American boy from the neighborhood who was shot and killed by a police officer on March 29, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Adam 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.

Residents have placed flowers and votive candles at in the street that Toledo was killed alongside a makeshift altar bearing his name. On Friday a local artist unveiled a mural of Toledo in the alleyway where he was shot.

Background: 13-year-old Adam Toledo was fatally shot by police on March 29 after being chased on foot by a police officer down an alley in Little Village. Police body camera footage released Thursday has brought a renewed focus on the circumstances of Toledo's death.

  • In the video the officer shouts at Toledo to show his hands, and the teen complies and raises his hands before a shot is heard.
  • Police say Toledo had a handgun on him prior to the shooting. A lawyer for the Toledo family said Thursday that even if he had, "he tossed it" before complying with the officer's demands.

Many residents have expressed how painful it was to see the police body camera footage of Toledo's shooting.

  • "It hurts, because he is a little kid," Toledo's aunt Theresa Chavarria told NBC news.
  • “He didn’t have nothing in his hands when the cop shot at him. As a matter of fact, he had his hands up and they still killed him,” local resident Jesus Hernández told the Chicago Tribune. “After watching it, I feel like I have to worry about my own safety because we don’t know how the cops are going to react,” he said.

While city authorities braced for protests after the release of the body camera footage Thursday, community gatherings have remained peaceful, per the Tribune.

  • A few dozen people gathered in protest outside local police headquarters to call for Mayor Lori Lightfoot's resignation, criticizing the mayor's call for calm.
  • Several peaceful marches took place in Chicago Thursday night, with residents calling for the police to be held accountable, per the Chicago Tribune.

Go deeper: Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old boy

Go deeper