Adam Toledo is among the latest victims of police violence, but bodycam footage shows the officer making a split-second decision as Toledo turned around. Toledo had deposited the gun behind a fence and was no longer holding it when the officer discharged his weapon. He had put his hands up, and in the heat of the moment, the officer shot him. The officer involved in the shooting will not face any charges related to Toledo’s death. The same cannot be said for the 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, who allegedly gave Toledo the gun.
What Police Think Happened
Roman and Toledo were together. Roman was discharging his weapon. The sound startled nearby residents, who called the police. Roman knew that the police were coming, so he gave the weapon to a 13-year-old who would not face charges. Roman had already faced weapons charges and was on gun probation at the time of the incident. So that is how the 13-year-old ended up with the weapon. The 13-year-old is running around with the weapon, police order him to drop it and put his hands up, and even though he complies, they shoot. Toledo dies.
Police believe that the Ruger 9mm belonged to Roman. They believe they recovered red gloves from the scene that show gunpowder residue. They must still establish that the gloves or gun belonged to Roman.
The Felony Murder Rule
Illinois has a felony murder rule, but it is not as harsh as Georgia’s. In Georgia, if you are running away from police with your friends and they shoot and kill one of your friends, you, and all your other living friends can be charged with the murder of the one friend whom the police shot. Illinois’ rule is not so draconian. Essentially, if you are in the commission of a forcible felony like robbery, rape, kidnapping, or battery, you can be charged with murder even if you did not intend to kill the victim. The intent to murder is implied through the intent to cause some other person harm, like setting fire to a building. In that case, the law does not care if you meant to murder anyone or not. The intent to cause harm represented a casual disregard for the life of the victim and the crime should be penalized as such.
However, since Roman was not committing a forcible felony against Toledo, Illinois will not permit him to be charged with Toledo’s murder—even if Roman told Toledo to take the weapon because he was underage.
While the felony murder rule certainly makes it easier to prosecute deaths proximately caused by those committing crimes, its net is so wide, especially in some other states, that it sometimes forces responsibility on those who made no decision to pull a trigger.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a serious crime in Chicago, call the Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin building your defense immediately.