THE cop who gunned down 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month has been identified as a decorated five-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who had never previously used deadly force.
Officer Eric Stillman, 34, is currently on administrative duty while an internal investigation into the March 29 shooting that left Toledo dead is carried out by the department.
Officer Eric Stillman, 34, is currently on administrative duty while an internal investigation into the March 29 shootingCredit: Facebook
The cop shot dead 13-year-old Adam Toledo following a brief foot-chase on March 29Credit: Family Handout
The Chicago PD traditionally avoids naming officers involved in such shootings, however Stillman’s name, badge number, age, and race were all detailed in an investigation report released on Thursday.
Also released was bodycamera footage of the moment Stillman opened fire at Toledo, eight-tenths of a second after ordering him to put his hands up – a command the boy followed.
The footage has caused protests to erupt across the Windy City overnight, as Toledo appears to drop a hand gun and place his hands in the air when Stillman discharges his firearm, fatally striking the boy once in the chest.
The officer is then seen performing chest compression on the young teen across a period of two minutes, but to no avail.
While another officer takes over the live saving efforts, Stillman is seen propping himself up against a fence and is visibly upset.
It has since been revealed that Stillman joined the police department in August 2015, first serving as a patrol officer for the Ogden District on the city’s West Side.
Prior to his deadly encounter with Toledo, Stillman had never fired his weapon at someone in the line of duty, records show.
Stillman is seen performing chest compression on ToledoCredit: Chicago Police
Bodycamera footage of the moment Stillman opened fire at Toledo, eight-tenths of a second after ordering him to put his hands upCredit: Reuters
Records released by the Invisible Institute also showed that Stillman had three complaints made against him, and four use of force reports between 2017 and mid-2020.
One of the complaints, dated November 19, claims that Stillman was one of three officers who allegedly ” illegally stopped and searched” a suspect during a traffic stop.
A second, filed in October 2020, also alleges an illegal traffic stop, however this time Stillman was the only officer accused.
“The accused officer allegedly unlawfully searched the R/P’s vehicle during a traffic stop. The accused allegedly removed a small razor that the R/P had inside his vehicle,” the report reads.
The incident was closed with no findings, the records show.
Of the use of force reports, only one involves a weapon, which was a baton.
Stillman also has eight honorable mentions on his record, received a Military Service Award from the Police Department and is a recipient of the Superintendent’s Award of Valor.
Stillman was placed on administrative duty after the shooting of Toledo, pending the outcome of an internal probe.
The officer’s lawyer, Tim Grace, told local media that Stillman “has worked in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the city and served his country honorably overseas.”
While another officer takes over the live saving efforts, Stillman is seen propping himself up against a fence, visibly upsetCredit: COPA
Stillman was placed on administrative duty after the shooting of Toledo, pending the outcome of an internal probeCredit: COPA
Grace also said he was confident that his client wouldn’t be criminally charged for shooting Toledo.
“I do not think he will be prosecuted for a crime,” Grace said, “and I do believe that if COPA and the Police Department are fair and look at the undisputed evidence, he will be exonerated of any type of a charge.”
In a subsequent interview with the Daily Beast, Grace said Stillman was faced with a deadly, split-second decision and believed Toledo was armed.
“There is irrefutable evidence that the shell casings recovered from [the corner where Toledo and Roman were standing] match the handgun that was in the hands of the juvenile when he was tragically shot by the officer,” he said.
“[Stillman] was faced with a life threatening and deadly force situation” and was “left with no other option” but to use his firearm, he said.
“The officer had no place to take cover or concealment, the gun was being [orientated] in his direction and he was left with no other option,” Grace reiterated.
Protests erupted in Chicago yesterdayCredit: AP
The footage shows Toledo running down an alley before being ordered to stop and put his hands in the air.
An enhanced version of the footage released on Thursday shows what cops say is a handgun in the seventh-grader’s right hand.
The boy turns toward the officer, and the alleged gun disappears behind his right-side. Adam begins to raise his hands as he’s facing the officer, but Stillman opens fire, fatally striking him.
From the time police said the gun was first visible on body-worn camera footage in Toledo’s hand, to the time the officer fired his weapon, was eight tenths of a second.
Prosecutors had initially claimed Toledo had a gun in his right hand when he turned around to face Stillman, however admitted on Thursday that the attorney who made the claim had “failed to fully inform himself”.
Protests erupted in the Wind City on Thursday afternoon and into the night, with activists chanting “He was just a kid!”.
In a statement issued on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the incident a “chilling” reminder that US Police “sometimes use excessive force against black and brown Americans.”
A small memorial is seen where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killedCredit: Getty
Law enforcement are bracing for more demonstrations across Friday.
Amid the unrest, Adam Toledo’s family have called for calm and peace.
“Adam’s memory can best be honored by refraining from violence and working constructively for reform,” a statement issued through their attorneys said.
Several law enforcement figures have also jumped to the defense of Stillman, with the head of the Chicago Police Union telling CNN last night that he was “100 percent justified” in gunning down Toledo and had acted “heroically”.
Former Washington, D.C. Chief of Police and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey also spoke to CNN on Thursday, calling the incident “tragic” but “reasonable”.
Meanwhile, Adeena Weiss Ortiz, an attorney for the Toledo family, said they’re considering legal action against the officer.
“If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his arms in the air, it’s an assassination,” Ortiz told the Chicago Sun-Times.
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