By Perly Viasmensky
The death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo of Chicago is definitely a tragedy that will stay in many peoples’ minds for years to come for many different reasons, especially in the mind of Chicago police officer Eric Stillman.
According to news reports, Adam’s mother, Elizabeth Toledo, had reported her son missing a week before, when Adam failed to come home for two days. When Adam returned home, she forgot to notify police of his return.
Many people are of the opinion that parents should not be blamed for the actions of their children, but this is one case that makes us wonder.
What was this 13-year-old child doing at 3 o’clock in the morning with a gun and in the company of a 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, running from a police officer in a dark alley while that police officer was responding to a report about gunshots. Where did he get that gun? Who would have given a gun to that child?
This is something we all want to know and that question should be part of the investigation. Nobody ever bothered to teach this child to respect figures of authority? Or to have regard for his very own mother? Apparently not, since he decided to stay away from home for two days, totally ignoring what his mother might be going through.
According to several news reports after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability released body camera video showing the final moments of Adam Toledo’s life, the City Council Latino Caucus said the footage clearly shows the boy was not armed at the moment an officer shot and killed him last month. The Latino Caucus said in a statement, “The body camera footage shows that Adam Toledo was an unarmed child with his hands up when he was shot by a Chicago police officer.”
Body camera also shows an officer chasing Adam down the dark alley, telling Adam to stop and show the officer his hands. When the body camera video is slowed down, a frame of the footage does appear to show a gun in Adam’s hand. Adam can then be seen stopping near a gap in the fence in the alley, with both hands at his side, his left shoulder facing the officer. Surveillance video of the same moment from a different angle appears to show Adam Toledo with his right arm behind the fence, possibly making a throwing motion, and then turning back toward the officer.
However, the first time a gun is clearly visible in the officer’s body camera video is about 2 minutes and 30 seconds after the officer shot Adam, when the officer shines his flashlight on a handgun on the ground, leaning against the fence next to Adam, on the other side of the alley.
Very noble for the Latino Council to speak on behalf of Adam Toledo’s family, but I am also a Latina and wonder if anybody ever considers the fact that Officer Stillman could not see that he was chasing a “child” in a dark alley at 3 o’clock in the morning.
The Latino Caucus also said, “This horrible incident exposes an issue that we all know too well. Policing is broken.”
Unfortunately, parenting is also broken. Parenting goes beyond providing food, shelter, and other good products to your children. You need to be in charge of their upbringing by teaching them right from wrong.
It is also important to consider the emotional effect and trauma this officer will carry the rest of his life knowing a young boy lost his life by his hand for crossing his path in a dark alley at 3 o’clock in the morning for lack of parenting control.
Many of these renowned organizations want to see police departments abolished. I don’t believe all of them should be abolished; what they need to do is cancel the 911 department. Whoever needs assistance from a police officer should stand on a street corner and wait for a patrol car to pass by. And all personnel should be instructed to ignore the person trying to flag them down.
Our police officers all have mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, wives or girlfriends and children expecting them to come home after a long shift. They don’t need to put their lives on the line for very little appreciation.
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky,
email her at firstname.lastname@example.org