The Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement following reports that the teenager a Chicago police officer shot and killed on Monday was identified as 13-year-old Adam Toledo. According to the Chicago Tribune, Toledo is the youngest person to be fatally shot by the Chicago police in years.
“Adam Toledo was a child with his whole life ahead of him — our hearts break for his family and community,” said Maria Pike, a Senior Fellow volunteer with Everytown Survivor Network and volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Too many Black and Latinx children are being killed, wounded, and traumatized by gun violence and police violence in our country. The alleged idea that this could have been an ‘armed confrontation’ speaks volumes to the gun violence crisis in Chicago and the ways in which our country’s gun laws, policy decisions, and underinvestment in Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities could have put a gun in this child’s hand to begin with.”
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found that the adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on police shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Meaningful use of force policies encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who break the law are held accountable.
Latinx people are twice as likely to be killed in a gun homicide as white people and are also more likely to be fatally shot by police. Black people in the United States are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns and that 99% of killings by the police from 2013-2019 did not result in officers being charged with a crime. In an average year, police shoot and kill 20 people in Illinois.