The police officer who fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo was listed as a victim on an incident report. One law enforcement expert said it’s ‘an old cop trick meant to muddy the murky waters.’

Still from the Chicago Police Body Camera Footage of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). Civil Police Accountability Office

  • An incident report lists officer Eric Stillman as the victim of a shooting in which 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed.

  • A law enforcement expert told Insider this was an “old cop ploy” to remove the fault of the police.

  • It is “intended to cloud the cloudy water,” which is often used, “after what we police officers refer to as” bad shooting, “” he said.

  • You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.

A Chicago police officer shot and killed Adam Toledo, 13, after being chased on March 29.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a police surveillance agency, released body camera footage and reports of the shooting in which the officer was involved on Thursday.

The report identifies the officer as Eric Stillman, 34, who lists him as a victim of a serious assault by a law enforcement officer. According to a tactical response report released by COPA, Adam was armed with a semi-automatic pistol which was “displayed, not used” during the incident.

Tom Nolan, a law enforcement expert who previously worked with the Boston Police Department, told Insider that the listing of the officer as a victim in the incident was “a long-used and hackneyed police force” to “focus of guilt and guilt on the Police to redefine “actual victim of the police fatal incident, ie the person who killed the police. “

“So the victim, in this case the unarmed dead child who is shot by the police, becomes the ‘perpetrator’ and the police officer, the murderer, takes on the posture of the ‘victim’,” he said. “It’s an old cop trick that is supposed to cloud the cloudy water, and it’s often used after what we cops call ‘bad shooting’.”

The reports of incidents and tactical reactions are in contrast to the recordings of body cameras, also published by COPA, in which Toledo turns to the officer with his hands raised.

Adam Toledo

A small memorial can be seen where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot dead by a Chicago police officer in the Little Village neighborhood on April 15, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. Kamil Krzaczynski / Getty Images

A family lawyer claims he did not have a gun in hand at the time of the shot, although the video appears to show the 13-year-old dropping a gun and following the officer’s instructions before being shot. In the moments after the shooting, officers immediately began to provide assistance.

The story goes on

Alfred Titus, a 23-year-old retired New York Police Department veteran who served as homicide detective, said the listing of the officer as a victim in the incident report was “not common” unless “shots were actually fired” .

“It comes at a time when law enforcement is trying to get rid of a controversial issue, or trying to get more sympathy or, as you know, more of the view that it is them who are the victim and not that State or not the guy just had the gun in hand, “Titus told Insider.

“It just brings more emotion to the case on the part of law enforcement and the police officer,” he continued. “So that’s possible why it was done this time. Absolutely possible.”

Titus, who is now an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University in New York, added that incident and complaint reports typically list the state as a victim, or whether a victim is actually involved in the incident.

Listing the officer as a victim is legal

However, he said, “The police department is not doing anything really wrong in listing the officer, as the law requires an assault or a serious attack with a weapon to involve an attempt, which would mean pointing the gun at the officer.”

“It seems that the police are trying to bring the highest charges [against the subject] At the same time, he presented evidence to show that the officer actually felt that the gun was aimed at him, “he said.

While Titus said it was difficult to pinpoint the details of the shooting and determine whether the officer was right or wrong in dropping a bullet, he said the incident was an example of the “split-second nature of the decision.” the error could occur “.

Nolan described an incident report as a record of the situation “painted for public consumption.”

“And so, in the minds of the public and the people who are going to give this, you know, nothing more than a glance, it frees the police of any wrongdoing, always and forever,” Nolan, who works as an associate professor of sociology at Emmanuel College said.

He added that the normally shorter incident report is preceded by more “bulky” investigative reports which are released but the investigation “could take years”.

According to the incident report, Stillman was later rushed to Rush University Medical Center with a “minor” injury labeled “illness”. It wasn’t immediately clear why Stillman was being rushed to the hospital, and Insider reached out to the Chicago Police Department for more information.

In some cases, Nolan told Insider that officials were being rushed to hospital. “This only reinforces the feeling that the officer was somehow wronged and injured in such a grave wrong that he had to be rushed to the hospital.” “”

The response to the release of the footage and documents from the body camera

A Stillman attorney said in a statement to The Daily Beast last week that it is “amazing and daunting that very few have asked about the officer’s welfare”.

“In particular, there is very little interest in the civil servant’s welfare and the effects of the officer who was subjected to lethal force while on duty,” said the lawyer. “The officer concerned has served his country and city with honor and deserves our support.”


A protester with a sign reading “Stop Killing Us” navigates the Chicago Loop during a peaceful protest on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, before the video of the fatal police shots of 13-year-old Adam Toledo is released. AP Photo / Shafkat Anowar

The lawyer also said there was “irrefutable evidence” that his client was right because “all previous attempts to de-escalate and comply with all lawful orders issued by officials had failed”. A Tactical Response Report published by COPA states that the subject, in this case Adam, “used force likely to result in death or serious injury”.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she saw “no evidence at all” that Toledo shot the police.

“You see, I don’t want to go into the actual substance as the independent investigation is ongoing, but I haven’t seen any evidence that Adam Toledo shot the police,” Lightfoot said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Nolan told Insider that the Toledo assassination depicts the “attempt by the police to regain control of the narrative, and from the moment the gun is fired the idea is to gain and maintain control of the story” .

“There are two stories,” he said. “There’s the narrative that the police provide that may contain some elements of truth. Yes, there was a foothunt. Yes, there was a gun. Yes, there have been reports of shots fired and the police responded and this boy engaged in a foot chase, but that’s where the truth ends. “

Nolan added, “And what happens after that won’t be publicly reported anytime soon.”

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