Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx apologized for an attorney in her office contributing to confusion regarding the killing of a 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Citing a breakdown in communication within the office, Foxx took responsibility over a month after a Chicago police officer killed the teen in March.
A Chicago NBC affiliate reported that an internal investigation revealed that an attorney did not intend to give the impression that Adam was holding a gun when police killed him.
“The tragedy of the death of a 13-year-old boy has been clouded by the confusion and frustration my office has caused, and for this, I apologize,” Foxx explained in a statement Wednesday.
An investigation by the Office of the State’s Attorney found it failed to take the proper steps in a bond hearing for Ruben Roman, who was with Adam. NBC identified the presiding attorney as Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy. The report described the language used by Murphy at the hearing as “inartful.”
But regardless of Murphy’s intent, his poor sequencing of events seemingly justified to casual observers the officer’s actions. During the April 10 bond hearing, Murphy told the court Adam had a gun, and then he was shot. He then mentioned the gun landed a few feet away, according to the Associated Press.
“The investigation revealed that the lack of recognition of the critical and urgent nature of this situation hindered the office’s ability to react quickly to understand the circumstances that led to the statements made in court,” read the report.
Focused on making a case against Roman, Murphy did not seem to consider how his words would affect the perception of Adam’s behavior in his last moments. To prove a case for class three felony child endangerment, the state had to show Roman “knowingly caused or permitted a minor to be placed in circumstances that endangered the child’s life (such as having a gun in hand) and those actions were a ‘proximate cause’ of the minor’s death.”
Other findings include that a supervising attorney had not reviewed Murphy’s work before presenting at the bond hearing. The investigation further revealed what Murphy said in court did not align with the information provided to the State’s Attorney, who previewed what he would say in court.
Killed in March by a Chicago police officer, video evidence shows Adam complied with police commands when he was shot. He had his hands up as requested.
Foxx also announced that Jennifer Coleman, a senior State’s Attorney, had resigned. Coleman kept Foxx up to date on the daily operations.
Foxx’s office plans to implement new policies to ensure the built-in “checks and balances” actually work. Attorneys will also have the training to make sure statements made in court are actually related to and support the underlying charges.
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