It happened again. The police killed another person. This time it was a child, 13-year-old Adam Toledo. The video shows Toledo turning and raising his empty hands before Eric Stillman, a six-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department, shoots him in the chest. And since his death, the police have reportedly shot at least 43 other people a count of The Washington Post.
On March 29, a ShotSpotter notification took police to South Sawyer Avenue in Toledo’s Little Village. The company claims that gunfire location technology will help make communities safer. The officer had an Avon-made police camera that says their body cameras increase police security and enable accountability by videotaping officers. Of course, the ShotSpotter did not prevent fatal shooting, and the officer showed no reluctance. New, expensive police technology is not the answer to the problem of cops shooting people.
After the tragedy, the mayor, police, and attorney general followed their usual post-killing script: they minimized both tape violence and police fault. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tried to blame abstractions like “systemic forces”. Since it was reported that Toledo had a gun and was part of the gang, Lightfoot also blamed the proliferation of guns, gangs and “bad” police practices. Lightfoot’s proposed cure for police violence is gun control legislation, extra money for training, and vague promises to give more resources to poor communities.
But we know that the lack of gun legislation didn’t kill Toledo. Toledo, who has a gun and is part of a gang, didn’t kill him either. One only has to look at how the police react to right-wing white violence to see that these claims are absurd. About 15 minutes before Kyle Rittenhouse killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a police officer gave him water and thanked him for being there. At the time, Rittenhouse was with members of an armed militia and illegally carried a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 rifle. After the shootings, he passed the police unaffected.
We know who killed Toledo. It was the police who, with the help of mayors like Lightfoot, funded and empowered them. That’s why we took to the streets again in Chicago. Before the video was released, the Little Village community hosted an event that consisted of equal parts vigil, memorial, and defiant protest. There was, of course, the predictable massive police presence in a community where a child had just been killed. Community organizations urged the crowd to continue their demonstrations – not just in working-class neighborhoods but also in areas home to the rich and powerful who back the police state.
There have been protests across Chicago over the past week. Thousands came to Logan Square on Friday to mourn and fight back. The crowd consisted of generations, mostly workers and bourgeois blacks. We have heard from families that members were killed by the police and that Lightfoot brought justice and accountability. The protesters held signs reading “Abolish the Police” and “Defund the Police,” while others had signs reading “CPAC NOW” referring to laws that would result in a democratically elected civilian police force. Participants like Emilio Jose Torres, who grew up in Logan Square and Humboldt Park, put the moment in a nutshell: “I can tell you now that the way to stop crime is not to monitor people. It’s about finding resources to make sure children are educated and have decent homes. Criminals don’t just pop up out of nowhere. “