Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took to Twitter late Thursday to call out the prosecutor who said in a court appearance earlier this month that Adam Toledo, the 13-year-old fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, had a gun in his hand at the time he was killed.
Her tweet followed a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney office that said the prosecutor “failed to fully inform himself before speaking in court. Errors like that cannot happen and this has been addressed with the individual involved. The video speaks for itself.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who has been a top critic of law enforcement, said “the prosecutor did not ‘make an error. He lied. He lied about the police killing a child.”
A still frame from the newly released body camera footage of the incident showed that Toledo wasn’t holding anything and had his hands up when the officer shot him in the chest. The officer was identified as Eric E. Stillman.
Chicago’s police review board released the video of the shooting that occurred in the early hours of March 29. The video showed a foot chase with the officer imploring the teen to stop running.
The Associated Press reported that the youth in the video appears “to drop a handgun and begin raising his hands less than a second before an officer fires his gun and kills him.”
Stillman’s footage shows him shining a light on a handgun on the ground near Toledo after he shot him. His lawyer defended him in an email to the Washington Post.
Tim Grace wrote that the “juvenile offender had the gun in his right hand…looked at the officer which could be interpreted as attempting to acquire a target and began to turn to face the officer attempting to swing the gun in his direction. At this point the officer was faced with a life threatening and deadly force situation. All prior attempts to deescalate and gain compliance with all of the officer’s lawful orders had failed.”
Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, a lawyer for Toledo’s family, said she was not sure what the teen tossed behind the fence and admitted that it “could be a gun.”
But she said it is not relevant, “because if he had a gun, he tossed it. The officer said, ‘Show me your hands.’ He complied. He turned around.”
Prosecutors working another case against Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old man allegedly with the teen when police responded, said at a bond hearing for their client that a 9-millimeter Ruger was located near the fence where the teen was killed, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Even as our understanding of this incident continues to evolve, this remains a complicated and nuanced story,” she said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We all must proceed with deep empathy and calm and importantly, peace.”
She held an emotional press conference at City Hall and said, “Simply put, we failed Adam.”
Ocasio-Cortez was not alone in her outrage. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., tweeted, “He was 13 years old and the police executed him.”
The tweet from Ocasio-Cortez said, “Ending this isn’t just about consequences for who pulls the trigger. It’s about admitting to and confronting an entire system that exists to protect, defend, and cover up state violence.”
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