By James R. Scott, The Chicago Times
October 21, 2022
CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer could be dismissed for the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo after the Chicago Police Board ruled against the objection of Chicago police leadership.
On Thursday, Police Board President Ghian Foreman ruled in favor of COPA and will now convene a board disciplinary hearing where all eight members will decide if Stillman should be fired.
“It is my opinion, based on thorough reviews of the material, the parties and the public will benefit from a full evidentiary hearing on this matter, and so referring this matter for a hearing before the police board is the appropriate next step,” Foreman said in a statement.
On March 29, 2021, Stillman pursued Toledo into an alley in Little Village and shot the teenager just as he dropped a handgun to raise his hands.
Chicago’s police oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, recommended that Officer Eric Stillman be fired from the department. COPA determined that Stillman acted inconsistently with department foot-pursuit policy and committed an improper use of deadly force. However, Police Superintendent David Brown disagreed with the COPA recommendation and recommended suspending Stillman for five days for failing to activate his body camera.
Tim Grace, Stillman’s attorney, said the board’s decision was extremely disappointing.
“The Cook County state’s attorney’s office investigated this case and correctly concluded that the use of force by Officer Stillman was proper and consistent with Illinois law. The members of the Chicago Police Department are asked to work under amazingly difficult circumstances, yet still come to work each day to protect the citizens from the gun-wielding offenders who terrorize our City. Adam Toledo’s death is a tragedy, but a tragedy that was caused by the gang he chose to associate with. His death was due to that association, not by the actions of Officer Stillman,” said Grace.
According to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office declined to criminally charge Stillman, the events leading to the Toledo shooting began on March 29, 2021 when officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert and observed Toledo and 22-year-old Ruben Roman running from the scene. After chasing Toledo down an alley for nearly a block, Stillman saw a handgun in Toledo’s right hand and shouted at him to drop the weapon.
As Toledo began to turn toward Stillman with his left hand raised up in front of his body and his right hand lowered at his side, Stillman fired a single shot into Toledo as he dropped the handgun.
“The timing of these actions was within 1 second. To be precise, it was estimated to be 838 milliseconds.” Foxx said in a statement
Police records noted that Stillman immediately requested an ambulance and performed CPR the moment Toledo fell to the ground. Foxx also admitted that Stillman reacted to the perceived threat presented by Adam Toledo, in which Stillman believed at the time was turning toward him to shoot him.