CHICAGO (AP) — A man accused of shooting at a car while standing alongside 13-year-old Adam Toledo moments before the teen was fatally shot last year by a Chicago police officer was found not guilty of weapons charges Friday by a Cook County judge.
Ruben Roman, 23, stood trial this week on charges that were not directly related to the death of Toledo, whose killing spurred protests and calls for reform to the Chicago Police Department’s foot pursuit policies.
The charges, three felony counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and one felony count of recklessly discharging a firearm, instead stemmed from Roman’s alleged actions while with Toledo just before the shooting.
Prosecutors said that Roman fired the rounds that drew the officer’s attention, and that gloves he dropped tested positive for gunshot residue, the Chicago Tribune reported.
But Roman’s defense attorneys argued that no witnesses or forensic evidence definitively tie Roman to the weapon, and that Toledo could have been the person to fire the gun, creating reasonable doubt.
Police body camera footage shows Officer Eric Stillman shoot Adam less than a second after the teen dropped a gun, turned toward the officer and began raising his hands. Stillman chased him down a dark alley after responding to a report of gunshots.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said there was insufficient evidence to charge the officer in the teenager’s death.
After the deaths of Adam and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, Chicago police changed their foot pursuit policy so officers can no longer chase people on foot simply because they run away or have committed minor offenses.
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