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When Chicago authorities get basic facts wrong, what does that say about their ability to build public trust? April 2021

When Chicago authorities get basic facts wrong, what does that say about their ability to build public trust?

The Chicago Police Department has repeatedly gotten basic details wrong in the shooting of a 21-month-old boy on Lake Shore Drive this week, which comes at a time when the department is unable to explain why officers shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

At first, officers said toddler Kayden Swann was 3, which wasn’t true. Then the Department said in a statement that a man in the same vehicle as Kayden “fired shots at another vehicle in traffic during a road rage incident.”

Prosecutors initially said Brown was the toddler’s grandfather, but a spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office told the Sun-Times that Brown is just in a relationship with the boy’s grandmother.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But these errors are unfolding when the police department faces a greater deficit of public trust in the aftermath of the Adam Toledo killing. And that raises a troubling question: Has the loss of public trust on several fronts jeopardized CPD’s ability to do its job?

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