Lightfoot, Toledo family call for protesters to 'express themselves peacefully' ahead of video release

Hours ahead of the video release showing Chicago police shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the boy's family called for peaceful demonstrations in a joint statement Thursday.

"We acknowledge that the release of this video is the first step in the process toward the healing of the family, the community and our city. We understand that the release of this video will be incredibly painful and elicit an emotional response to all who view it, and we ask that people express themselves peacefully," the statement reads

Adam was fatally shot by police on March 29th around 2:30 a.m. when police responded to a report of shots fired in the Little Village neighborhood.

During a news conference before the promised release of investigation materials, including body camera footage of an officer fatally shooting Adam Toledo on March 29, Lightfoot called on people to keep calm. Choking up at times, she decried the city’s long history of police violence and misconduct, especially in Black and brown communities, and said too many young people are left vulnerable to "systemic failures that we simply must fix."

"We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct," the mayor said. "So while we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain. It is even clearer that trust between our community and law enforcement is far from healed and remains badly broken."


The Toledo family viewed videos of the shooting and other materials Tuesday.

"As a mom, this is not something you want children to see," said the mayor. She declined to say if the footage showed whether the teen was holding a gun when he was shot, but she called a prosecutor’s assertion at a recent hearing that Toledo had a gun when he was shot "correct."

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability was expected to release the bodycam footage of Toledo’s March 29 shooting at 2:30 p.m. It was simultaneously expected to release other investigation materials, including video captured by a third party, arrest reports and audio recordings of shots being fired in the area that led police to respond.

The board didn’t say what the video shows or give any other information about the investigation.

Before the video’s release, some businesses in downtown Chicago’s "Magnificent Mile" shopping district boarded up their windows. Lightfoot said the city has been preparing for months for a verdict in the Chauvin trial and that it had activated a "neighborhood protection plan." She said the plan could be applied to the release of the Toledo shooting video. "It happens now that these circumstances are sitting next to each other," she said.

The Toledo family, meanwhile, issued a statement urging people to "remain peaceful."

The Associated Press contributed to this report