CHICAGO (WLS) — The mother of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez was joined by family and community members for a rally outside the Thompson Center Friday after a decision that let the officer who shot and killed her son remain with the Chicago Police Department.
Thursday night the Chicago Police Board rejected a recommendation to fire the officer and instead followed Superintendent David Brown’s proposal to suspend the officer for 20 days.
Alvarez’s mother said hearing the board’s decision brought back memories no mother wishes to relive.
“I’m bothered and angry by the decision,” said Alverez’s mother, Veronica Alvarez.
The shooting happened during a foot chase in March of 2021.
Body-camera video showed that Alvarez appeared to have a weapon in his right hand, which then fell to the ground.
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The Civilian Office of Police Accountability had recommended that Officer Evan Solano be fired.
“It is my opinion that the Superintendent met the burden of overcoming the chief Administrator’s recommendations of discipline,”said Steven Block, a Chicago Police Board member.
In a summary of opinion from the board, they called Officer Solano’s use of force against Alvarez “objectively reasonable” based off the circumstances.
Instead of firing the officer, they called a 20-day employment suspension proposed by Superintendent David Brown, quote, “more reasonable.”
The move was made official at Thursday’s police board meeting.
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Following the meeting, COPA released a statement that said in part: “COPA firmly stands by our investigation, findings, and recommendation of discipline of Officers Evan Solano and Sammy Encarnacion in this incident.”
The agency also listed a series of failures and inconsistencies by Officer Solano during the incident, including failure to activate his body-worn camera, failure to properly load his firearm, and acting inconsistently with training while engaging in a foot pursuit of Alverez.
“COPA recognizes the risks Department members face when pursuing subjects who are holding firearms and that these circumstances require officers to make split-second decisions in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. Nonetheless, Department policy does not permit Department members to use deadly force on a subject who flees with a firearm absent an imminent threat, which Mr. Alvarez did not pose here,” COPA said.
The Alverez family attorney said they will not stop their fight for justice.
“What was the point of even having COPA and this investigation if that opinion is not being followed or even it seems like it’s not even being taken into consideration,” said Attorney Tania Dimitrova.
The family said they plan to take their anger out into the streets Friday, calling for an emergency protest downtown tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
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