Chicago, Long Riven Over Police Conduct, Reels Anew After Shooting of 13-Year-Old


Professor Bennett Capers shared his expert opinion with The New York Times on the recent fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicagoans reacted with horror and grief to body-camera video released on Thursday that showed the killing of Adam Toledo in the early-morning hours of March 29. In the video, Adam is chased down an alley by a police officer, who orders him to stop and show his hands. An analysis of the video, slowing down events that took place in the space of a second, shows the teenager then appearing to toss a handgun nearby and raise his hands in the air, just before the officer shoots him in the chest.
Bennett Capers, a law professor and the director of the Center on Race, Law and Justice at Fordham University, said that prosecutors were responding more frequently to public demand that police officers be charged with crimes in use-of-force incidents.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, is underway in Minneapolis. Earlier this week, another Minnesota police officer, Kimberly A. Potter, shot and killed Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop; she was charged with second-degree manslaughter three days later. The officer who shot Laquan McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted of second-degree murder in 2018, the first police officer to be convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting in Chicago in nearly 50 years.
Charging Officer Stillman would be “difficult but not impossible” for prosecutors, Mr. Capers said.
“Obviously the police were saying that the kid had a weapon, and tossed the weapon, and all of this happened in a split second,” he said. “Are we really saying that an officer is entitled to shoot anybody who is holding a gun?”

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