Officer in fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo speaks with Cook County prosecutors, sources say

·3 min read

The Chicago police officer who fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo has given a statement to Cook County prosecutors as part of their review of the night the teen was killed, sources told the Tribune.

Such statements are not uncommon, and the development does not indicate whether prosecutors intend to charge the officer, Eric Stillman, with any crimes connected to the shooting.

In general, the subject of an investigation may agree to speak with prosecutors on the understanding that his statement will not be used against him unless criminal charges are brought and he contradicts that statement from the witness stand. Subjects often give such statements on the belief it could help them avoid criminal charges altogether.

Stillman’s attorney, Tim Grace, declined to comment, except to say he does not believe prosecutors have a basis to charge Stillman in connection with the shooting.

“I don’t think there is enough evidence for the state to prove their very high burden of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’” Grace said.

Stillman, a military veteran, was assigned to the Ogden District tactical unit. It was not immediately clear when he spoke to prosecutors, who are in the process of a review of the case.

Toledo was shot in a Little Village alley near 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue in the early morning hours of March 29. Video of the shooting was released last week, sparking protests and renewing calls for police reforms.

The footage appears to show Toledo carrying a gun, but within a fraction of a second, he appears to discard it while turning toward Stillman with his hands up as the officer shoots.

Shootings by police are reviewed by the Law Enforcement Accountability Division of the state’s attorney’s office, which is kept strictly separate from the felony review unit that approves charges for civilians.

Prosecutors in felony review already approved charges for Ruben Roman, 21, who was with Toledo the night of the shooting.

Roman faces felonies including child endangerment and reckless discharge in connection with his actions that night. Prosecutors said Roman fired the shots that brought officers to the scene while Toledo was within arm’s length of him, and the two fled together while officers pursued.

Roman was ordered held on $150,000 bond for the new charges, and $250,000 for a probation violation, records show. On Friday, the Chicago Community Bond Fund paid the necessary $40,000 for him to be released on an electronic ankle bracelet, records show.

The organization has bailed out hundreds of people since its founding, transitional Executive Director Kesia Reynolds told the Tribune.

“We are unable to accept every request that we receive, so we often prioritize cases that are connected to social justice movements, including the movement to end police violence,” Reynolds said.

And they viewed Roman’s case as fitting in with that mission, she said.

“We are aware that the city will continue to use him as a scapegoat for the (killing) of Adam Toledo, which was committed by the Chicago Police Department,” she said.

At a routine hearing Monday in Roman’s child-endangerment case, Judge Edward Maloney raised his eyebrows at the amount the charitable fund had paid.

“A lot of people sitting in jail could use some of that money, I bet,” he said during a videoconferenced court date.

Asked to comment on the judge’s remarks, Reynolds reiterated that the mission of the organization is to pay bail for people who can’t, and the fact that the judge set a bond is an indication that Roman was eligible for release.

“Chicago Community Bond Fund is dedicated to protecting the presumption of innocence. With high profile cases like this one, it becomes even more important than usual that somebody has the presumption of innocence,” she said.

mcrepeau@chicagotribune.com