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In Less Than a Second, a 13-Year-Old’s Life is Ended and a Police Officer Must Live With It

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Heartbreaking.

That description is undeniable in the otherwise controversial shooting death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by Chicago police.

The most obvious headline for the story of the video’s release Thursday was simple: Police video shows 13-year-old was shot with his hands up.

Microseconds matter.

But frame grabs of his hands up show only a tiny slice of those fateful early morning hours on March 29. Watching the video posted by the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates such cases, I found myself playing and replaying the microseconds, as measured by the video’s time code, shortly after 2:30 a.m. in which young Adam brought his empty hands into view in the dark alley at almost the same time that police Officer Eric Stillman fired his weapon.

And I could only say, “If only …”

 

If only young Adam had stopped running sooner as Stillman was chasing him, repeatedly shouting for him to stop and put his hands up.

If only young Adam — after he stopped, disappeared through an opening in a nearby fence and then reappeared — had held up his empty hands one second sooner, maybe Stillman would not have shot him.

Or, for that matter, if Stillman had waited only a second longer, maybe he would have seen clearly that he had no reason to shoot the teen.

I felt bad for both of them. In the video, Stillman can be seen desperately trying to save the boy’s life as other police and paramedics arrive, saying “Stay with me. Look at me. Come on, big guy, stay with me ...”

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(c) 2021 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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