On March 29, 13-year-old Adam Toledo was fatally shot by a police officer during a foot pursuit in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood. Despite outcry from both the community and his family, the City of Chicago has not released full details surrounding his death. AIDS Foundation Chicago stands with Enlace Chicago, ACLU-IL and other organizations in demanding a full and transparent investigation and reform of all policies that contributed to the police killing of Adam Toledo.
We echo Little Village community organization Enlace Chicago’s demand that “the City of Chicago prioritize and expedite the investigation, and not leave a stone unturned to find out the circumstances that led to this tragic outcome.” Additionally, we urge the Chicago Police Department to dramatically improve its policies around on-foot pursuits of suspects. As ACLU-IL Legal Director Nusrat Choudhury notes, “A Chicago Police Department policy on foot pursuits is long overdue.” A Chicago Tribune report from 2016 uncovered the large percentage of police shootings that start as foot pursuits, and even in the week of Adam’s murder, another foot pursuit by CPD officers resulted in the death of Portage Park father Anthony Alvarez on March 31.
AFC has seen too many times the results of unrestrained pursuits by police officers resulting in unjust injury and death, particularly among Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The bias-driven murder of BIPOC individuals at the hands of the state is a horrifying example of this. The number of Latinos/Latinx people shot to death by police over the past five years is only slightly behind the number of Black people whose lives were ended by police officers. This is only the most extreme example of a racist and biased criminal justice system that needs transformative changes to protect the health and lives of BIPOC Chicagoans.
Simply put, racism is a public health crisis. Systemic racism drives the disproportionate number of BIPOC individuals who are shot by the police in the same way it drives the disproportionate number of BIPOC individuals who are living with and vulnerable to HIV. AFC is committed to standing up against systemic racism wherever we see it.