Chicago, IL – Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s second-in-command has resigned after another prosecutor told a judge that 13-year-old Adam Toledo had a gun when he was fatally shot by Chicago police during a foot chase in March.
Bodycam revealed Toledo tossed the gun, out of the officer’s line of sight, less than a second before the officer fired at him, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“He was 100 percent right,” Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara said of the officer’s use of deadly force. “The offender still turned with a gun in his hand. This occurred in eight-tenths of a second.”
An internal investigation was launched into the prosecutor, James Murphy, for inadvertently making an allegedly false statement regarding where the gun was located at the exact moment Toledo was shot, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Those findings were released on May 5.
Foxx’s second-in-command, Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Coleman, was the only person in a position to make sure the information Murphy provided to the court was accurate and complete, Foxx claimed.
“The checks and balances that should have been in place for someone to be able to review, to ensure that what was being said in court aligned with the information that the office had, it didn’t work,” Foxx told the Chicago Tribune.
Murphy “did not intend to give the impression” that Toledo was holding a gun at the exact moment he was shot, the state’s attorney’s office said.
Foxx said Murphy did not present any factually incorrect evidence during the hearing, but said his statements implied incorrectly that Toledo was still holding the gun when the officer fired, WBEZ reported.
“Despite that that was not his intention, the proper steps weren’t taken to ensure that his language, the language he used in that statement in court, had the intended effect,” she said.
Two investigations into the incident were being conducted simultaneously when Murphy tried to put together his proffer – one into the officer-involved shooting, and one into Toledo’s cohort, 21-year-old Ruben Roman, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Due to the way the office is structured, Murphy did not have access to all of the evidence that had been compiled in both investigations when he wrote the brief.
In fact, the only person who had active knowledge regarding both investigations was the first assistant, according to Foxx.
Just hours before Murphy was slated to present information to the court in Roman’s April 10 hearing, Coleman told prosecutors to tack on a charge of child endangerment, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Murphy hurriedly wrote up a statement with the additional charge, which meant he had to include information about the officer-involved shooting of Toledo.
“[Toledo] has a gun in his right hand,” Murphy explained to the judge during Roman’s hearing. “The officer fired one shot…striking him in the chest. The gun that the victim was holding landed against the fence a few feet away.”
Foxx’s office released a statement approximately one week later saying Murphy had not “fully informed himself” before he spoke about the officer-involved shooting, even though he did not have access to all the evidence at the time due to office protocols, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“[The problem wasn’t] that information was siloed, it was siloed by design,” Foxx told the paper. “The check and balance was, despite the silo, there was insight that could have alleviated the situation on April 10.”
She said her office is reviewing training for prosecutors and working to ensure “checks and balances” work better in the future.
Foxx notified her office about Coleman’s resignation shortly before the findings of the internal investigation were released on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Coleman had been with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office for 26 years, and was promoted to first assistant just five months ago.
Murphy was suspended during the investigation, but has since returned to work, WGN reported.