In March 2021, a 13-year-old young man ran from police while carrying a handgun. If you guessed that playing stupid games like running from the police at 2:38 in the morning as a 13-year-old toting a stolen handgun can lead to bad outcomes, you’re a smart cookie. CPD Office Eric Stillman, in hot pursuit on foot behind the suspect named Adam Toledo, kept yelling for the perp to stop and to show his hands.
Toledo didn’t do either until he paused at a gap in a wood fence. He apparently tossed the gun behind a fence panel (see screen capture below) as Office Stillman caught up.
When Stillman ordered Toledo to show his hands, the young man turned suddenly, bringing up his right hand almost as if he still had a gun in his hand.
In an instant, the office fired, mortally wounding Mr. Toledo.
Here’s the video. Not safe for work (language, violence)
There’s a lot more videos here for those looking for a deep dive.
Police in Chicago have little positive to say about the COPA organization – Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Sure enough, their skepticism was well placed as COPA evaluated the case in their “second guessing” role. Not only that, but they published the officer’s home address as part of their “transparency.” Clearly, their role is not one of supporting the local police.
With the new mayor-elect, the acting Superintendent Eric Carter has recommended terminating the officer because in Carter’s view, the officer didn’t do enough to allow the fleeing felon to shoot him dead before opening fire.
Carter wrote that “deadly force [that] was not necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm from an imminent threat.” The top cop also opined that Officer Stillman also failed to “use de-escalation techniques to prevent the use of deadly force as a last resort.” That’s asking a lot in the presence of what was effectively an upraised knife. (Supreme Court Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that “Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.”)
Carter may well be auditioning for a permanent promotion to chief. If so, then the CPD will enjoy leadership as incompetent as that of the new mayor (and the previous mayor, Lori Lightfoot).
Carter isn’t especially well-liked by the rank and file in the department. He wears a chest full of ribbons almost like he’s trying to convince those who don’t know better that he’s some exemplary cop who has done a lot. If they offered a ribbons for brown-nosing, Carter would likely need a bigger jacket.
We’ll see how this works out. The good news is there are lots of departments in Florida who would likely welcome a veteran officer. The bad news is this just another step in poisoning the morale of the remaining officers working to maintain some semblance of law-and-order in America’s Murder City.