As if being a police officer in Chicago was not already difficult enough, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced she was mulling a “momentous” change to police procedure that would include officers requiring express permission from a supervisor before chasing suspects, inspired by the police-involved shooting death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.
“No one should die as a result of a foot chase,” Lightfoot said, adding that the city plans to unveil the policy change “soon.”
Alderman Brian Hopkins confirmed to Fox 32 Chicago that he heard officials from the mayor’s office say “getting permission from higher-ups” before engaging in a foot chase will part of its upcoming police reform, a change that worries Hopkins.
“Of course that raises obvious problems,” Hopkins argued, per Fox 32. “In the time it would take to do that, the person you’re supposed to be chasing is actually long gone. The point would be moot then.”
Earlier this week, the city released bodycam footage of a police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, triggering mass protests and unrest across the city. The footage shows the police arriving to Little Village neighborhood just after 2:00 am to investigate gunshots and potential gang violence and then chase Toledo into a corner, where the police can be heard demanding Toledo to drop his weapon until one officer fires.
The city quickly blamed footchase procedures for Toledo’s death, though it’s unclear how permission to chase fleeing suspects helps protect innocent citizens.
“This is a tragedy that could have and should have been prevented had the police department had clear procedures governing the use of lethal force against children during foot chases,” one attorney promoting reform said in a press conference.
As the city grapples with a surge of violence, even greater police reform looks to be on the horizon. Chicago, typically one of the most violent cities in the nation, has experienced a major spike in shootings and homicides with nearly 1,000 people have been shot since the beginning of 2021 while 171 have been killed by gun violence.