The Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability on Wednesday released the body camera video of the fatal police shooting of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez in March.
In two extremely graphic videos, each over 12 minutes long, a pair of police officers are in a foot pursuit of Alvarez. And officer
Alvarez rounds a corner, pursued by the two officers, when he trips. Seconds later, an officer rounds the same corner and can be heard yelling, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” The officer then fires his weapon five times at Alvarez, and Alvarez can be seen on video dropping what appears to be a gun.
Alvarez can be heard saying “Why are you shooting me?”
The officer responds: “You had a gun!”
In a press release, COPA said the fatal shooting took place near in the city’s Portage Park neighborhood shortly after midnight on March 31. Neither of the officers involved have been identified by police.
Because of “information obtained in the early stages of the investigation,” COPA, the civilian led agency that provides oversight for Chicago police, recommended on Wednesday that the officer who fired the shots be suspended.
At a press conference Wednesday, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said the officer who fired their weapon was put on administrative leave for 30 days.
Brown also said that Alvarez “was armed with a gun.”
In its summary of the incident, COPA wrote that CPD “tactical officers attempted to stop and speak with Mr. Anthony Alvarez — an individual familiar to the officers.”
“Mr. Alvarez fled as officers approached, leading to a foot pursuit by the officers. During the brief foot pursuit, officers made verbal commands to Mr. Alvarez to drop the weapon. A Chicago Police Officer fired his weapon multiple times, fatally injuring Mr. Alvarez,” COPA wrote.
Although police have not detailed why officers first approached Alavarez, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday referenced a “minor traffic offense,” NBC Chicago reported.
“I will say this: We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed,” Lightfoot said. “That’s not acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone.”
Alvarez’s family first viewed the video on Tuesday, telling NBC Chicago it left them with more questions than answers.
“I want more answers. The videos I saw don’t explain what I saw in the morgue,” Alvarez’s mother, Veronica Alvarez, said through a translator.
“I want to know why they were running after him. To this day I have no answers.”
Attorneys for the Alvarez family, in a joint statement with Lightfoot’s office, said the family believes “the release of these videos will be the beginning of a long process of healing for the family, and for all those who knew and loved Anthony.”
“We collectively issue this statement and ask that those who wish to express themselves do so peacefully and with respect for our communities and the residents of Chicago,” the statement said.
The shooting of Alvarez happened just days after an officer with the Chicago Police Department fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Police said that Toledo had a gun in his hand immediately prior to the shooting, although attorneys for the Toledo family dispute he was armed at the moment he was shot.
The COPA released the body-worn camera footage from that fatal police shooting earlier this month.