Gun control is at the forefront of American politics and has seen unprecedented news coverage over
the last few weeks with gun violence and mass shootings at an all time high.
13-year-old Adam Toledo had gun in his hand when fatally shot by Chicago police: prosecutors say. (Chicago Tribune)
Yesterday was another horrible day in our beloved city of Chicago, Illinois. 13 year old Adam Toledo, who had been carrying a gun, was fatally shot by an officer, public servant, friend and family member. It is not who Adam Toledo could have ever been, but who was this police officer, reckless, irresponsible, and highly unskilled. The police chief of Chicago is now calling for “Foot Pursuit” policies to be changed. After Adam and 21 year old Ruben Romano took off, armed and on foot, through the neighborhood; police officers summoned to the scene began their pursuit shortly before 3 a.m. The boy again was asked repeatedly to drop his weapon. Police said officers were dispatched to the Little Village neighborhood on the city’s West Side, well after the department’s ShotSpotter technology detected the sound of “eight” gunshots in the area. When they arrived, Toledo and a 21-year-old man ran away. While chasing the teen, there was an armed confrontation during which the officer shot him once in the chest, police said. Later, body cam video would show the 13-year-old raising his hands above his head and complying with police commands when he was shot. Ruben Roman was arrested at the scene of Toledo’s shooting on a misdemeanor charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer. Roman was arrested on an unrelated warrant last week and charged with child endangerment, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and reckless discharge of a firearm for his actions that night. Yesterday, the Toledo family viewed body cam video of the shooting, the city’s Civilian office of Police accountability announced late Tuesday. The agency said it would not immediately release the video at the request of the family of Adam Toledo. “COPA has advised family representatives, that it is still acutely sensitive to the family’s grief and their desire to avoid public release of materials related to Adam’s tragic death. Attorney Raul A. Reyes wrote, "Much of what we know so far is unacceptable... There has been a disproportionate focus on the circumstances surrounding the shooting, rather than on the fact that a police officer killed an unarmed child. Sadly, this kind of violence is familiar to Latino communities and that should disturb all Americans.” In the meantime, protests erupted all over the streets of Chicago. Demonstraters chanted slogans like "Hands Up, Don't Shoot", "No justice, no peace", "Justice for Adam Toledo", and "Stop Racist Police Terror". Mayor Lightfoot stated that the city would be putting into place plans to prepare for unrest. Students in the Chicago school district have called for the removal of armed officers from public schools and for more accountability. There is also an issue of Toledo’s mother, who must explain why her 13 year old is not in bed, or at home doing his homework and is running through the streets with a gun, threatening to join a gang. Every citizen, neighbor and family friend has grieved for the loss of such young life; from 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and 18-year-old Andrés Guardado. When will this insanity end? How can our government change the course of these events to extend the safety and welfare of all our children, wherever they were raised.