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Chicago mayor calls for police pursuit reforms after 13-year-old's death

By Don Jacobson
Chicago mayor calls for police pursuit reforms after 13-year-old's death
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, shown on April 2, 2019, after winning election to the city's highest office, said the police killing of an armed 13-year-old boy will be thoroughly investigated. File photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

April 5 (UPI) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday called for reforms of how police conduct foot pursuits as the city prepared to release video of last week's fatal officer-involved shooting of a 13-year-old boy.

Lightfoot told reporters she has ordered Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown to implement new policies after Adam Toledo was shot and killed during a foot chase through an alley in the Little Village neighborhood on March 29.

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Police said Adam, a Black teenager, was armed and fled with another suspect during the 2:30 a.m. incident.

The city's police accountability agency has said it will release bodycam video of the fatal shooting this week, sparking concerns that racial tensions could be inflamed. Seeking to calm the situation before the release, Lightfoot said she is committed to changing police policies.

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"We cannot and will not push the foot pursuit reform off for another day," the mayor during an appearance at a church in the West Side neighborhood. "No longer can we afford to put off to tomorrow what we can address today because lives are truly at stake."

Foot pursuits, she added, present a "significant safety issue" for not only police and those pursued but also for innocent bystanders.

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"[Police] often get separated from their partners," she said. "Communication is difficult -- you're running through a dense urban environment, an alley, a street or a back yard."

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Brown provided a photo of a gun allegedly recovered at the scene of Adam's death and said a second suspect, Ruben Roman, 21, has been charged with a misdemeanor for resisting an officer in connection with the incident.

Lightfoot did not specifically link Adam to criminal street gangs, but vowed to track down any adults involved in his activities.

"I am determined," she said. "We will find the person who put this gun in Adam's hand. We will not be deterred by threats from gang members. An adult must be responsible for putting that gun in that child's hand."

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