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No Charges For Chicago Police Officers Who Shot Adam Toledo, Anthony Alvarez, Foxx Says

The shootings generated national controversy, spurring protests in Chicago and calls for the officers to face charges and be removed from the force.

The Chicago police officers who fatally shot Adam Toledo, 13, and Anthony Alvarez, 22, in separate incidents will not face charges, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.
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CHICAGO — The Chicago police officers who fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez in separate incidents will not face criminal charges, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced Tuesday.

The killings occurred just days apart in March 2021. Both shootings happened after foot chases, with officer Eric Stillman killing Toledo in a Little Village alley and officer Evan Solano killing Alvarez a few blocks from Alvarez’s home in Portage Park.

The shootings — especially that of Toledo — generated national controversy. They spurred protests in Chicago and calls for the officers to face charges and be removed from the force.

While Foxx’s office has ruled out charges, the officers could still face discipline from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency that oversees potential misuse of force at the Police Department.

And Foxx said it was the officers themselves who created the conditions that led to Solano killing Alvarez, a 22-year-old father.

Foxx said she met with the families of Toledo and Alvarez to give them the news prior to Tuesday’s news conference. They were “heartbroken,” she said. Attorneys for Toledo’s family said Tuesday they are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Stillman and the city.

The Police Department revised its foot chase policy after the killings of Toledo and Alvarez, but the changes have been criticized.

Adam Toledo And Eric Stillman

Stillman will not face charges for fatally shooting Toledo, a 13-year-old, after chasing him down a Little Village alley March 29, Foxx said.

“We’ve concluded that there was no evidence to prove that Officer Stillman acted with criminal intent,” Foxx said. “Officer Stillman fired only one shot. … [He] reacted to the perceived threat presented by Adam Toledo, who he believed at the time was turning toward him to shoot him.”

Toledo had snuck away from his home and family the night he was killed. It was days before the Police Department informed his family about his death, with officials saying it was because they had problems identifying the boy.

Graphic video footage of Stillman shooting Toledo was publicly released in April 2021, leading to marches in the city. Little Village activists called for Stillman to be charged with murder.

Body-camera footage from the shooting shows Stillman — a 10th District tactical unit officer — chasing Toledo through an alley, yelling at the teen to stop. In the video, Stillman catches up to Toledo, who appears to have stopped running near a gap in a fence between the alley and a church parking lot.

Video from a different angle appears to show Toledo tossing a gun behind the fence moments before he was shot.

Stillman flashed a strobe flashlight at Toledo and said, “Hands! Show me your fucking hands!”

Immediately after commanding Toledo to show his hands, Stillman shot the boy at close distance. Toledo’s hands were raised when he was shot, the footage shows.

There was less than one second between the time Toledo turned to face Stillman, the gun still in his hand, and Stillman shooting as the 13-year-old dropped the gun, Foxx said.

“To be precise, it was estimated to be 838 milliseconds,” Foxx said.

A COPA investigation into Toledo’s death is ongoing.

Attorneys for Toledo’s family said they are “profoundly disappointed” Stillman won’t be prosecuted, and they’ll seek monetary damages in civil court against the officer and the city. They’ll also contact the Department of Justice “to address this horrific travesty,” lawyers Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn said in a statement.

“Adam obeyed the police officer’s commands, stopped running, had his hands up in the surrender position, and was nevertheless shot and killed by Officer Stillman,” the attorneys said. “Despite the painful loss of Adam, the Toledo family continues to call for peace on the streets of Chicago as they pursue justice through the court system.”

Anthony Alvarez And Evan Solano

Similarly, Solano will not face charges for fatally shooting Alvarez during a chase March 31 in Portage Park, Foxx said.

Alvarez was running from officers when he slipped and fell, Foxx said. He had a cellphone in one hand and a gun in the other, and he tried to push himself up and slipped again, she said.

Solano, coming around the corner, saw Alvarez “crouching” on the ground and thought the 22-year-old was waiting to ambush him, Foxx said. He shot Alvarez five times.

An autopsy showed Solano shot Alvarez in his back.

Solano had ordered Alvarez to drop the gun, Foxx said.

“The office has concluded that the evidence in this case is insufficient to support criminal charges against police officer Evan Solano,” Foxx said.

Although there wasn’t evidence for criminal charges for Solano, the officers involved in Alvarez’s death “themselves created the conditions in which the use of deadly force became necessary,” Foxx said.

“First, it was unnecessary for the officers to stop and engage with Mr. Alvarez, who was walking through a gas station parking lot, holding food and drink. He was not committing any crimes that were readily apparent to the officers at the time,” Foxx said. “Second, Officer Solano may have committed several foot pursuit policy violations during his foot chase of Mr. Alvarez, such as rounding corners blind without first slowing to assess any danger and not creating distance or waiting for his partner.”

Solano was stripped of his police powers after the shooting. COPA has finished its investigation of the shooting, and Supt. David Brown has until the end of March to review the agency’s findings and decide what discipline, if any, to impose against Solano.

Alvarez’s family said in a statement they were “saddened and disappointed” in Foxx’s decision. Giselle Higuera, mother of Alvarez’ now-3-year-old daughter, sued the city, Solano and Officer Sammy Encarnacion in federal court last month, arguing CPD’s inability to establish a foot chase policy led to Alvarez’ death.

The family also urged police and Foxx to continue investigating Solano’s conduct on the force, which included a road rage incident in which he pointed his gun at another driver in Logan Square less than two months after he killed Alvarez.

“Family members are committed in their efforts to bring justice for Anthony, which includes holding the Chicago Police officers involved in the shooting accountable for their actions,” read the statement, issued through attorney Tania Dimitrova.

Alvarez worked at a packaging plant alongside his brother and mother to provide for his young daughter Ailani, Dimitrova said. He was carrying a white styrofoam carryout box and was headed to his nearby home to eat when the officers confronted him.

“I do not believe for a split second that Anthony posed any type of risk of harm or danger to the officers on March 31, 2021,” Dimitrova said. “He was visibly frightened from the way the officers approached him at the nearby gas station with their vehicle, almost running him over, which caused him to flee. He lived close by and was simply attempting to go home to enjoy a meal. There is absolutely no justification to the shooting and Officer Solano’s actions are inexcusable.”  

Block Club Chicago’s Alex V. Hernandez contributed.

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