Adam Toledo Shooting Boosts Progressives' Calls for Systemic Change

Progressive Democrats have reacted to footage of the shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo with calls for systemic reforms they hope could prevent such incidents in future.

Chicago police released bodycam footage on Thursday showing an officer shooting the teenager on March 29. Toledo had his hands raised and they appeared to be empty at the time he was shot.

Several Democratic lawmakers took to Twitter to express outrage and call for reform following the video's release.

"Funding body cameras. Funding more trainings. Funding updated use of force guidelines," said Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota's 5th district.

"All that funding and reform hasn't stopped the police from killing people or made our communities safer.

"The problem is systemic and it requires systemic solutions."

Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan's 13th district wrote: "I can't. He was 13 years old. A baby."

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York's 14th district criticized the prosecutor in the Toledo case after Cook County said he had made an error in claiming the boy was holding a gun.

"The prosecutor did not 'make an error.' He lied," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "He lied about the police killing a child. Ending this isn't just about consequences for who pulls the trigger. It's about admitting to and confronting an entire system that exists to protect, defend, and cover up state violence."

Other progressive Democratic lawmakers reiterated calls for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to be passed in the Senate following the incident.

"We can't just sit back and wait for police to kill someone else like they killed Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright," said Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington's 7th district.

"The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, end police brutality and move our justice system towards one that doesn't kill kids but keeps them safe."

That bill, written by Democrats including members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and passed by the House of Representatives, aims to tackle a range of issues including police misconduct and racial profiling. It has not been passed by the Senate.

Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the CBC, also called for the bill to become law.

"Adam Toledo was 13 years old," Bass said. "Those responsible for taking the rest of his life away from him must be held accountable. We have to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act signed into law."

Democrat lawmakers outside of the party's progressive wing have also reacted to the video released on Thursday.

"The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We can't wait any longer," tweeted Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also shared his view on Toledo's death.

"Adam Toledo was just 13 years old. He was a child. This is heartbreaking. He deserves justice. His family deserves justice," Schumer said.

Newsweek has contacted the lawmakers mentioned for further comment.

Democratic Representatives Tlaib, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. They are among the Democrats who have commented on the death of Adam Toledo. Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images