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Retired CPD Sergeant Says He Can't Pass Judgment For Sure On Adam Toledo Shooting Video

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For many, the body cam video of the police shooting that killed Adam Toledo, 13, comes down to one moment in an alley near 24th Street and Sawyer Avenue in Little Village.

In the video from early on the morning of Monday, March 29, Adam turns and Ogden (10th) District Officer Eric Stillman shoots. Many are now divided on the question – was the shooting justified?

CBS 2's Charlie De Mar talked with a retired police sergeant who watched the videos. He said after all his years on the job, he can't render an opinion one way or another on whether the shooting was justified - but he did provide perspective.

Richard Schak is a retired Chicago Police sergeant and now Chair of Criminal Justice at National Louis University.

"It's that split second that people could question," Schak said.

There are plenty of questions about that split-second decision to shoot and kill Adam.

"Looking at the video and slowing it down, you see a gun," Schak said. You see what clearly looks like a weapon in his hand."

He continued: "I can't say right or wrong. If you look at the video frame by frame, you are talking about a second to make that decision."

At 2:38 a.m. as the CPD officer chases Adam down a dark alley, Adam stops running.

There is less than a second from the time Adam is seen holding something in his hand to the time Adam turns and the officer's shot goes off. Body camera video appears to show officers finding a gun resting against a fence.

"I don't see a weapon the split second the shot was fired, but I see a weapon within split seconds of when the shots were fired," Schak said.

snapshot (11)
Body camera video of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo appears to show him holding something in his right hand just before he was shot. A gun later was found just feet away from where Adam fell. (Credit: Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

It is that final second of video that is being picked a part frame by frame - a choice made by the officer in real time.

"Part of what you see in situations like this is you're trying to guess or speculate as to what's in the officers mind exactly, and that's very difficult to do when you're looking at all these different videos," Schak said.

CBS 2's De Mar spent much of the day and night at Chicago Public Safety Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. He noted that police Supt. David Brown has not been seen or heard from for much of the day.

There was an opportunity for reporters to view the Adam Toledo police shooting video before its initial release, and Supt. Brown was not in attendance. He also was not present for Mayor Lori Lightfoot's news conference earlier in the day.

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