“My God. Adam Toledo,” the journalist Shaun King tweeted. “They murdered an innocent, unarmed 13 year old boy. Then lied about it for weeks as if he aimed a gun at police. He complied. Had his hands up. And they killed this boy.”
The disturbing body camera video appears to show Adam turning and putting his hands up after a Chicago police officer tells him to do so. He is then shot anyway.
Prosecutors had previously said the boy was holding a gun when he was shot in the early hours of 29 March. In the video, he appears to be unarmed.
“Look, if he’d have just listened to the police he’d ... still be dead because he listened to them and they shot him anyway,” commented Seth Masket, a political scientist at FiveThirtyEight.
“The Adam Toledo [video] was so horrifying that Chicago boarded up municipal buildings before the video was released,” wrote Roxane Gay, a New York Times columnist. “That tells you all you need to know.”
“I just watched the #AdamToledo video,” wrote W Kamau Bell, a CNN news commentator. “If you are arguing against a complete overhaul of America’s system of policing then watch the video. If you are still against a complete overhaul after that, then you are automatically saying that you are in favor of cops murdering people.”
Public officials weighed in as well.
“We need justice for Adam Toledo, killed at just 13 years old by police violence,” tweeted Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
Until Thursday, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot had supported prosecutors’ version of events, saying Adam died because “an adult put a gun in a child’s hand.”
On Thursday, she walked back that explanation.
“Simply put, we failed Adam, and we cannot afford to fail one more young person in our city,” she said at a press conference just before the video was released.
Many on Twitter were not impressed.
“This woman told the public Adam Toledo had a gun in his hand last Monday,” wrote Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an opinion writer forThe New Yorker. “Crocodile tears. She was elected as a reformer. What a spectacular failure.”