Prosecutor did not intend to say Adam Toledo had gun when shot, investigation finds

Prosecutor did not intend to say Adam Toledo had gun when shot, investigation finds
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A Chicago prosecutor did not intend to say that 13-year-old Adam Toledo had a gun when he was fatally shot by police in late March, according to the findings of an internal investigation released Wednesday.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said the prosecutor “did not intend to give the impression that Adam Toledo was holding a gun when he was shot,” while adding that the language used by the attorney was “inartful, leaving an unintended impression.”

The office did not name the prosecutor, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy, in its findings.

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Murphy was initially placed on leave after he appeared to claim that Toledo had a gun on him during a bond hearing for 21-year-old Ruben Roman, who was with Toledo the night he died.

Body camera footage released in April appeared to disprove Murphy's claim, as there is no visible gun in Toledo’s hands before he is shot.

Wednesday's report said Murphy was trying to provide facts to support the charges against Roman, who was facing a class 3 felony child endangerment charge that required proving that Roman caused or permitted Toledo to be placed in a situation that endangered Toledo’s life and was the “proximate cause” of his death.

The report said the proper steps were not taken to ensure the correct language was used in describing Toledo’s death and that a “lack of recognition” on why the statements were made hindered the office’s ability to address the situation in a timely manner.

Murphy has returned to assignment and is no longer on leave.

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said Wednesday that its attorneys will undergo training regarding presenting facts in court and that it will implement policies insuring “checks and balances” operate as intended.

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Body camera footage released in April showed police chasing Toledo until he stops at a gap in wooden fencing. The officer, Eric Stillman, demands to see Toledo’s hands, and Toledo slowly turns with both hands raised.

Stillman can be heard yelling “drop it” before shooting Toledo in the chest. A gun was not clearly visible in the footage.

The footage sparked calls for justice, as it came during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May 2020. It also came as the nation grappled with the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by police in a Minneapolis suburb on April 11.