On the morning after Chicago police released an “excruciating” video of a police officer killing a 13-year-old boy, mural artist Pablo Serrano got to work.. and got reflective.
“He never had a chance, never had a chance,” Serrano said as he parked his paint cans at the very spot where Adam Toledo died, next to a couple of burning candles.
Police officer body camera released on Thursday showed the officer, Eric Stillman, chasing and shooting Toledo in an alley, late last month.
The video appears to show Toledo holding a gun at his side, his back turned to the officer, just before he apparently dropped it, and spun around to face the officer with his hands up. A split-second later, he was shot.
An investigation over whether the officer used unreasonable force is on-going.
But the sight of a 13-year-old boy, his lifeless, bloody face staring up from the ground has shocked Chicagoans, including Serrano.
“He finally did try to turn himself in, the last image is his hands up. It’s just insane,” said Serrano as he started painting on the wooden fence where Toledo crumpled to the ground.
Protests over Toledo’s death have been peaceful yet angry; this spot remains solemn.
At a grouping of flowers and balloons nearby, a woman kneeled and prayed, while drivers passed and paused briefly to make the sign of the cross.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot called the video “excruciating” and said the whole city “failed” Toledo.
For Serrano, Toledo’s story was all too familiar: young boys in poor neighborhoods, from broken homes, find welcoming arms in gangs.
“What other options do young kids have? The tragedy is that there are people that benefit from maintaining this cycle,” Serrano said, from the gun industry to the ‘police state’.
Serrano only needed a few minutes to finish his large mural: a silhouette angel, with outstretched wings, and hands up.
At the bottom, the words “Long Live Adam”.