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Watchdog releases footage of Chicago police fatally shooting Anthony Alvarez

April 29 (UPI) -- Authorities have released footage of a police-involved shooting that left a 22-year-old Chicago man dead late last month.

Chicago's Civilian Office of Police Accountability released the footage Wednesday of the March 31 shooting that killed Anthony Alvarez, recommending in a statement that the officer who discharged his weapon be relieved of his duties amid its ongoing investigation.

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COPA released more than three dozen videos, including one captured by the shooting officer's body camera showing Alvarez asking "Why are you shooting me?" as he lay on the lawn of a home.

According to COPA, the shooting occurred after officers attempted to stop and speak with Alvarez, who fled as they approached and led them on a foot chase.

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"During the brief foot pursuit, officers made verbal commands to Mr. Alvarez to drop the weapon," the release said. "A Chicago Police Officer fired his weapon multiple times, fatally injuring Mr. Alvarez."

A tactical response report from the Chicago Police Department labeled Alvarez as being an "imminent threat of battery with weapon" and said that he was armed with a semi-automatic pistol.

In footage taken by the shooting officer's body camera, Alvarez is seen running down an alley away from pursuing officers.

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An officer is then heard yelling for Alvarez to drop the gun before discharging his weapon at least five times.

In surveillance video captured moments before the shooting, Alvarez is seen slipping on grass with what appears to be a gun in one hand and a smartphone in the other, neither of which he seems to point at the pursuing officer before the fatal shots were fired.

A second officer on the scene renders aid to Alvarez while instructing him to stay still.

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"Stop! Stop moving! I'm trying to help you," the second officer is heard telling Alvarez. "Stay with me, dude. Stay with me."

Though COPA does not name the shooting police officer, documents it released identifies him as officer Evan Solano.

During a press conference for an event prior to the footage being released, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that the Alvarez family viewed the footage a day earlier and suggested the shooting was the result of a minor traffic offense.

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"I won't and don't comment on ongoing investigations. Not only is there an investigation by COPA but as is protocol this matter was referred to the state's attorney's office for evaluation," she said.

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"But I will say this, I will say this," She said. "We can't live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed. That's not acceptable to me and it shouldn't be acceptable to anyone."

She added that progress is being made to revise the police department's policy on foot pursuits, stating they are "one of the most dangerous activities that officers engage in -- dangerous for themselves, dangerous for the person being pursued and dangerous for members of the public."

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters during a press conference later Wednesday that the involved officer had been placed on routine 30-day administrative leave, and that he was unaware of COPA's recommendation for the officer to be relieved of his police powers amid its investigation.

After the footage was released, Lightfoot called for calm in a joint statement with Aldermen Ariel Reboyras and Felix Cardona, Jr., saying that the footage will "understandably elicit an emotional and painful response" as the shooting occurred two days after 13-year-old Adam Toledo was fatally shot by police in the city.

"The loss of our city's youth can no longer be the milestones by which we measure our collective failure," the mayor said. "As a city, we must do better."

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