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Community braces for release of Adam Toledo video: ‘He needs justice’

On the eve of the planned release of police body-cam footage of the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo, Little Village community members and protesters downtown Wednesday call for transparency and accountability. 

A man prays at a memorial site near an alley in Little Village on Wednesday. On the eve of the planned release of police body-cam footage of the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo, Little Village community members and protesters downtown Wednesday called for transparency and accountability. 
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Madison Martinez, 33, who lives in a second-floor apartment across the Little Village alley where Adam Toledo was shot last month said she doesn’t believe the police narrative that the 13-year-old had a gun when he was fatally shot by an officer. She wants to see the video from the incident.

“They should release it so we can see the truth,” she said. “They’re obviously hiding something if they haven’t released the name of the cop who shot him.

“He needs justice.”

On the eve of the planned release of police body-cam footage of the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo, Little Village community members and protesters downtown Wednesday called for transparency and accountability.

Another man, who visited a memorial in Little Village surrounded by flowers, candles and signs reading “RIP Adam Toledo” near the scene of the shooting by an alley at 24th and Sawyer, said he hopes the release of the video to the public won’t cause Adam’s family more grief.

“I think they shall release it just so people in Little Village can know the truth, but I also don’t want his parents or his family to be misunderstood or misconstrued because of the video,” said the man, who declined to give his name.

Before getting back into his car, the man attached two new signs to the fence, including one that had a photograph of Adam and read, “No justice, no peace. I was killed by CPD.” He also knelt beside the memorial, said a prayer and gave the sign of the cross.

Posters and a stitched cross sit on a fence at the memorial site for Adam Toledo in Little Village.
Anthony Vázquez/Sun-Times

Earlier in the day, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced its plans to release video and other materials related to the March 29th fatal police shooting on Thursday. That includes footage from body-worn cameras, third-party video, transmissions from the Office of Emergency Management & Communications, ShotSpotter recordings and incident reports.

“COPA has remained sensitive to the family’s grief and is carrying out this release in accordance with the City’s Video Release Policy,” Ephraim Eaddy, spokesman for COPA, said Wednesday in a statement. “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.”

In preparation for possible demonstrations, the Chicago Police Department on Monday said it was canceling officers’ days off. CPD also previously said it was poised to switch officers to 12-hour shifts.

So far, protests in honor of Adam, including a rally Wednesday in the Loop, have remained peaceful. And the Toledo family has repeatedly called for calm.

Around 50 people rally in Federal Plaza and march around Chicago’s Loop on Wednesday calling for justice in the police killing of Adam Toledo in March.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“We appreciate the community support and are grateful that events so far have remained peaceful,” lawyer Adeena Weiss Ortiz said Wednesday in a statement on behalf of the Toledo family. “... We pray that for the sake of our city, people remain peaceful to honor Adam’s memory and work constructively to promote reform.”

Marlene Feraz, a 15-year-old from Oak Park who marched in Wednesday’s protest while carrying a banner with the slain boy’s picture, said she anticipates peaceful demonstrations to continue through next week.

“We’re going to keep fighting for Adam Toledo and other people who got shot by CPD and other police around the world,” Feraz said.

Kristian Armendariz, of Little Village, shared Feraz’s sentiment, adding that he’s going “to fight for what’s right” regardless of whether Adam had a gun.

“I don’t think Adam deserved to die. He still had the right to a trial with a jury,” Armendariz said.