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Lawyer of police officer who shot Adam Toledo says it’s ‘disheartening’ no one has asked how officer is doing

Graig Graziosi
·3-min read
Chicago Police Shooting (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Chicago Police Shooting (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The lawyer representing Eric Stillman, the Chicago Police Officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo after chasing him down an alley while investigating a shots fired call, said he was "disheartened" that no one had asked about the welfare of his client.

Tim Grace, Mr Stillman's lawyer, issued a statement on Thursday after viewing the body camera footage of Mr Toledo's death, in which he chastised the media and the public at large for not being more sympathetic to the condition of the police officer.

“What is amazing and disheartening is that very few have asked about the welfare of the officer. Specifically there is very little interest in the wellbeing of the officer and the impact experienced by the officer who was required to use deadly force in the line of duty," Mr Grace said. "The officer involved has served his country and his city with honour and deserves our support.”

In the video footage of the shooting, Mr Stillman chases Reuben Roman, 21, and Toledo down an alley after receiving a shots fired called earlier in the night.

Mr Stillman shoves Mr Roman to the ground and proceeds after Mr Toledo, yelling for him to stop. Mr Toledo does, and turns around with his hands up, and in the same instant he turned to face Mr Stillman, the officer shoots him in the chest.

The officer attempted to revive Mr Toledo, and appears shaken by the shooting in the video.

However, as a police officer, Mr Stillman has support structures in his department, his union, and provided by the city and the state to help him cope with the shooting.

"There is a callous disregard for the well-being of the officers who do not want to use deadly force ever. There has been no intellectual curiosity at all about what this officer is going through," Mr Grace said. “If someone were to drive by his house at 3 o’clock in the morning there is one light on, the kitchen light, where he’s sitting at the table, alone, shaking his head, saying, ‘Why didn’t he just listen to me? Why did he send messages to me that required me to use my training and use deadly force?’ And he’s going to live with that for the rest of his life."

Mr Grace maintains that Mr Toledo had a gun in his possession at the moment he was shot, though evidence from the body camera footage does not appear to support that claim.

“He has a gun in his right hand,” Mr Grace said. “There’s no doubt in the world that he has a gun in his right hand.”

In the video, Mr Toledo's hands appear to be empty, though there is some evidence to suggest that the 13-year-old ditched a gun behind a fence the instant before he was shot.

The attorney does not believe Mr Stillman will be charged with a crime.

“I do not think he will be prosecuted for a crime, and I do believe that if COPA and the Police Department are fair and look at the undisputed evidence, he will be exonerated of any type of a charge,” he said.

John Catanzara, the president of the Chicago Police Union, shared the attorney's sentiments.

He told CNN that an “officer does not have to wait to be shot at or shot to respond and be able to defend himself”.

Mr Catanzara said that Mr Stillman had less than a second to decide how he would respond, and said the shooting was justified.

"Time lapse photos show that the officer had 8/10ths of a second to determine if that weapon was still in his hands or not. Period. There's no way a rational person can say they can process that and their muscle reaction would be less than one second," he said.

He later went on to call Mr Stillman shooting and killing Mr Toledo "heroic."

Mr Stillman has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation, but no charges have been brought against him at this time.

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