A Chicago-based prosecutor was placed on paid leave Friday for failing to mention in a statement that Adam Toledo, 13, had dropped the handgun he was holding before he was shot by a Chicago police officer, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office announced.
“In court last week, an attorney in our office failed to fully present the facts surrounding the death of a 13-year-old boy,” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s spokeswoman Sarah Sinovic said Saturday. She was referring to an April 10 hearing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“We have put that individual on leave and are conducting an internal investigation into the matter,” Sinovic continued.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy reportedly told a judge at a bond hearing for Ruben Roman, 21, who was allegedly with Toledo the night he was killed, that when Toledo turned “towards the officer” he had “a gun in his right hand.”
“The officer fires one shot at [Toledo], striking him in the chest. The gun that [Toledo] was holding landed against the fence a few feet away,” Murphy told the judge.
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Body camera footage of the March 29 shooting that was released Thursday appears to show Toledo dropped the gun he was holding before he was shot by the officer.
Foxx’s office partially walked back Murphy’s statement Thursday, less than an hour before the body camera footage was released, the Chicago Tribune reported. Her office has not elaborated on why it took five days to make the clarification.
Murphy has been accused by Foxx’s office of “failing to fully inform himself” about the body camera footage “before speaking in court.”
“Errors like that cannot happen and this has been addressed with the individual involved. The video speaks for itself,” Sinovic said, the Sun-Times reported.
A prosecutor who asked to remain anonymous said there was a perception in the office that Murphy was being “thrown under the bus,” the Sun-Times reported.
Sinovic said Foxx’s office was investigating which videos of the shooting were available to Murphy before he spoke at the bond hearing.
Foxx in a Friday night internal memo said Murphy’s statement “did not fully reflect all the evidence that had been given to our office.”
It was unclear if a superior had approved Murphy’s statement.
“For many of you, it may have been jarring to see our statement regarding this matter. It is indeed a rarity to see the Office make such a public statement related to the actions of an [assistant state’s attorney],” Foxx wrote. “It was not done lightly.”
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Sinovic said that Murphy has not been accused of “lying” but the office is concerned his statement could be “misinterpreted” over when Toledo dropped the gun.