Chicago to release video of cop fatally shooting 13-year-old

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 6, 2021, file photo, Jacob Perea, 7, left and Juan Perea, 9, hold signs as they attend a news conference following the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot by a Chicago Police officer at about 2 a.m. on March 29 in an alley. The independent board that reviews Chicago police shootings says it will release body camera footage and other investigation materials Thursday, April 15, 2021, pertaining to the fatal shooting. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File) (Shafkat Anowar, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CHICAGO – Body camera footage of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old boy last month will be released Thursday, the board that reviews such shootings said.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA, said in a news release Wednesday that among the materials it will release pertaining to the March 29 shooting death of Adam Toledo will be officer bodycam footage, video captured by a third party, arrest reports and recordings of shots being fired in the area that led police to respond.

The board didn't say what the video shows or give any other information about the investigation.

According to police, officers responded to an area of the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s West Side before dawn on the morning of the shooting after learning that gun shots had been detected in the area by a police-operated technology. The teen and a 21-year-old man 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. Police said a handgun the boy had been carrying was recovered at the scene. The 21-year-old man was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

The review board initially said it couldn’t release the video because it involved the shooting of a minor, but it changed course after the mayor and police superintendent called for the video’s release.

“COPA’s core values of integrity and transparency are essential to building public trust, particularly in incidents related to an officer involved shooting, and we are unwavering in our commitment to uphold these values,” the board said in its statement Wednesday.

The videos have been widely anticipated in the city and after other video of violent police encounters with the public around the country sparked civil unrest — including in Chicago in 2015 after the city made public video of the fatal police shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald — the Toledo family urged people to “remain peaceful.”

“We have heard reports in the media that more protests are planned today, and while we have no direct knowledge of such events, we pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform,” the family said in a statement.

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.