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PORTAGE PARK — Newly released video shows Chicago police shoot and kill 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez as he ran from them.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability released footage from police body-camera videos and surveillance videos from the area Wednesday, the day after Alvarez’s family was allowed to see the footage. Viewing the visuals of the shooting left Alvarez’s relatives and their attorney with “more questions than answers,” they said.
Alvarez was shot and killed March 31 during a foot chase blocks from his home in Portage Park. The shooting happened just days after Chicago police fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo during a chase in Little Village.
The videos show Alvarez was carrying a gun, but he didn’t point it at anyone in the footage and was shot while running from officers.
But even with the release of the video, critical details remain unclear.
In a statement, COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy said “tactical officers attempted to stop and speak with Mr. Anthony Alvarez — an individual familiar to the officers,” and chased him when he fled. Eaddy said officers told Alvarez to drop the gun he was carrying before shooting him multiple times.
Less than an hour after the footage was made public, Police Supt. David Brown repeatedly refused to answer questions about why Alvarez was being pursued by police or why officers tried to stop him. Brown also wouldn’t say whether Alvarez was legally carrying a gun.
While COPA released the video, accompanying reports provided no additional insight as to why officers tried to stop Alvarez. Brown said that information will be shared following a COPA investigation.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Alvarez was shot after a traffic stop, but officials have provided no details on what led to the stop and subsequent shooting.
“We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense resulted in someone being shot and killed. It shouldn’t be acceptable to anybody,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated press conference. “As I’ve said before it’s 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.”
Alvarez’s family and Lightfoot’s office released a statement earlier Wednesday asking the public to react “peacefully” once the videos were public and to have confidence in the investigation into Alvarez’s killing.
Releasing the video “will be the beginning of a long process of healing for the family, and for all those who knew and loved Anthony,” according to the statement.
“This tragic event provides further motivation for the expediency for reform to the city’s foot pursuit policies. We ask that all continue to respect the Alvarez family’s right to privacy as they grieve during this incredibly painful time.”
Surveillance footage from a gas station, also released by COPA, shows Alvarez walking with a white bag of items. A police SUV pulls up to him, he drops the bags and the chase begins.
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO:
Body-camera video shows Officer Evan Solano got out of a squad car and joined another officer chasing after Alvarez at night. They ran down an alley and turned onto a sidewalk.
In front of a row of homes in the 5200 block of West Eddy Street, Solano shouted, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” and immediately fired shots at Alvarez.
Video shows Alvarez did not point a gun at anyone immediately before being shot. Solano fired at least five shots at Alvarez while they were behind him as he ran.
Alvarez collapsed and asked, “Why are you shooting me?”
“You had a gun,” Solano said.
The officers then commanded Alvarez to stay on the ground as he twisted and groaned.
“I’m gonna die,” Alvarez said as he tried to use his cellphone.
Solano pulled out handcuffs and said, “Cuff him. Cuff him,” as Alvarez laid on the ground.
“No, I’m going to give him aid,” the other officer said. He pointed to the ground nearby and said, “The gun is right there.”
The officers then cut open Alvarez’s clothes and attempted to give him aid. One said, “Stay with me, man. Stay with me.”
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO:
The last time Alvarez’s family saw him alive was around 9 p.m. March 30. He stopped by his parents’ place in Portage Park to show off a Jeep he just bought and to make family dinner plans.
About three hours later, officers were running after him in the 3500 block of North Laramie Avenue, police said. The chase continued to the 5200 block of West Eddy Street, where he was shot.
Alvarez was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center and pronounced dead. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police said they found a gun on the scene. The officers involved have been placed on routine administrative duties for 30 days.
For weeks, police and COPA, which investigates police shootings, have not answered questions about why officers chased Alvarez in the first place.
Relatives said they received little to no information from city officials, leaving them to cobble together details from news reports, social media and neighbors, and appeal for people to come forward with information.
After family watched the footage, nearly a month after Alvarez was killed, Pugh told reporters the family had “more questions than answers” after viewing the videos. Pugh was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
After Alvarez and 13-year-old Adam Toledo were killed by police following foot chases within the same week, Lightfoot said the department’s foot chase policy needs to be overhauled.
However, police have not yet provided a timeline on when the foot chase policy would be changed.
Lightfoot on Wednesday declined to comment further on the footage of Alvarez being shot by police before it was released to the public. But she did say the police department was “making progress” on her directive to revise the foot chase policy and that “sometime in May” it would be ready for public comment.
“For the second time in weeks, the people of Chicago are presented with video footage of a young Latino man being shot and killed by police during a foot pursuit,” the ACLU of Illinois said in a statement after the video was released.
“The investigation of Mr. Alvarez’s death, like that of Adam Toledo, must be complete and transparent. The people of Chicago deserve answers. And just as important, Chicago residents deserve meaningful changes to policing. They deserve a new policy on foot pursuits that is informed by community voices and driven by community needs — and one that actually results in changes in how police officers treat human beings.”
Alvarez’s family will hold a memorial march noon Saturday, starting at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Central Avenue.
Block Club Chicagos’s Colin Boyle contributed.
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