On March 29, Adam Toledo, an unarmed Latino 13-year-old with his hands up, was shot and killed by police officers in Chicago.
As bodycam footage of the shooting is being made public, the public has once again begun to call for dramatic police reform that would bring an end to needless violence against minorities.
Many conservatives are predictably unhappy with this and are looking for ways to justify the killing of a 13-year-old so change will seem unnecessary.
Sean Hannity of Fox News, for instance, recently described Toledo as a "13-year-old man" on his radio program.
Sean Hannity describes Adam Toledo as a “13 year old man” https://t.co/Ypj9SbUnCx— Media Matters (@Media Matters) 1618524675.0
During the episode of The Sean Hannity Show, the Fox host said:
"We are awaiting the release this hour of Chicago Police bodycam footage that captured the fatal police shooting of a young 13 year old man by the name of Adam Toledo. And if social media is any indication, there's a lot of chatter today about possible unrest."
"I hope it doesn't happen but with Chicago's track record, every weekend -- you know, I guess, you'd have to go with the odds, considering there are dozens and dozens of shootings and killings every weekend in Chicago -- that this might not be particularly good."
Why does it have to be said to Sean Hannity that a 13-year-old is a minor?— David Weissman (@David Weissman) 1618581299.0
Hannity's comments reminded many of how he and other conservative pundits still describe now 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who brought a gun over state lines and killed two people and injured a third.
As we're all reacting to Sean Hannity describing Adam Toledo as a "13 year old man", flashback to how Pam Bondi des… https://t.co/lzokym7Jxk— Ethan Grey (@Ethan Grey) 1618530204.0
At Fox News Black and Brown kids grow up faster than white kids. GERALDO RIVERA: Trayvon Martin was a 6'2" hoodie… https://t.co/YxBtXrKLqv— Mr. Newberger (@Mr. Newberger) 1618568868.0
The differences in how Fox News media personalities describe White individuals and people of color can seem subtle but make a world of difference.
By describing Toledo as a "man," Hannity was suggesting to viewers that this 13-year-old was fully grown and perhaps should have known better.
It also makes the firing officer's actions seem more acceptable.
Sean Hannity described Adam Toledo, the 13 year old unarmed CHILD killed by Chicago police, as a “13 year old man.… https://t.co/N7ovotEEic— HawaiiDelilah™ (@HawaiiDelilah™) 1618527256.0
GOP logic based on Sean Hannity : Adam Toledo unarmed with hands up was shot & killed= 13 year-old *man* Kyle Ritte… https://t.co/a3fqNQ5tna— 🖤🦋Rowan Moon🦋🖤 (@🖤🦋Rowan Moon🦋🖤) 1618578040.0
Worth noting that Sean Hannity calling Adam Toledo a "13-year old man" is a common manifestation of white supremacy… https://t.co/XDznprMwr6— Ethan Grey (@Ethan Grey) 1618558927.0
Including White mass shooters.
They infantilize white shooters in their 20s. Call them otherwise "good kids" & folks who "had a bad day." Sean Ha… https://t.co/l6wr8PwnBl— Darryn M. Briggs (@Darryn M. Briggs) 1618576504.0
Soooo... Sean Hannity describing Adam Toledo as a '13-year-old man' (shot by police) while characterizing then 17-y… https://t.co/zDXxkpnMob— AMBER *OFFICIAL* (@AMBER *OFFICIAL*) 1618585182.0
When a Black person is murdered, the project immediately becomes posthumously convicting them of a crime worthy of… https://t.co/vx9E3tP460— A.R. Moxon (@A.R. Moxon) 1618575501.0
It seems the police believe White young men deserve sympathy and respect even after firing their weapons in public and killing people, while children of color should be considered a deadly threat even when unarmed with their hands raised.
Or playing with a toy gun or wearing a hoodie.
I’m so sad for this family. I am so angry at a system that allows this to happen at all, let alone so frequently. I… https://t.co/NXdVznkNif— baby carter paparazzi (@baby carter paparazzi) 1618548323.0
In case you needed more reasons to loathe Sean Hannity. https://t.co/unfiVpDKIn— DEJ | #BlackLivesMatter | #TransRights (@DEJ | #BlackLivesMatter | #TransRights) 1618541847.0
This is not a unique situation, it is only the latest in a long string of violent incidents captured on film.
Many other innocent people of color are likely being harmed by police every day, though not all of those encounters will be recorded and less still will gain viral media attention.
It is time for a change.