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Chicago Releases Video of Fatal Police Shooting as Mayor Calls for Peace


CHICAGO — City officials in Chicago released body camera footage on Wednesday showing a police officer fatally shooting Anthony Alvarez, 22, after an early-morning foot chase on the city’s Northwest Side in March.

The killing of Mr. Alvarez was the second police shooting in a month to prompt an outcry from the public and renew calls for an overhaul to the Chicago Police Department.

In the videos, two officers can be seen driving into the parking lot of a gas station, lights flashing. Mr. Alvarez, in the parking lot, begins running away, and the officers eventually chase him on foot down an alley and around a corner into a front yard in a residential neighborhood.

One officer, Evan Solano, shouts, “Hey! Drop the gun, drop the gun!” before firing five times. At the time he was shot, the slowed-down video shows, Mr. Alvarez had his back to the officers and was attempting to run.

Wounded and sprawled on the ground in front of a house, Mr. Alvarez moaned in pain and said, “Why are you shooting me?”

“You had a gun,” Officer Solano replied.

Video from the body cameras and from residential security cameras appear to show that Mr. Alvarez was holding a cellphone in his left hand and a gun in his right hand. After he was shot, he dropped the gun, which fell several feet in front of him.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned on Wednesday that the release of the videos would prompt a “range of emotions” in Chicago, a city already bruised from the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old from the West Side. In the wake of George Floyd’s death beneath a Minneapolis officer’s knee last year, there were nightly protests and some looting in downtown Chicago.

“Both parties are acutely aware of the range of emotions that will accompany the release of these materials, and 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,” Ms. Lightfoot said in a statement issued jointly by city officials and the Alvarez family.

A review of Mr. Alvarez’s death is underway by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, an independent city agency that investigates police shootings in Chicago and released the video footage on Wednesday.

“COPA’s investigation is ongoing, and both parties expect and have the utmost confidence that officials will determine the complete and unbiased set of facts in this case,” Ms. Lightfoot said.

Credit…Todd Pugh and Tania Dimitrova, via Associated Press

Mr. Alvarez was described by his family as a father of a toddler and a machine operator at a meat factory in the Chicago suburbs.

Speaking to reporters this week before the footage was released to the public, Todd Pugh, a lawyer for the Alvarez family, said the videos raised serious questions about the shooting.

“I know what I saw,” Mr. Pugh said. “And I saw a Chicago police officer shoot their son as he ran away from them.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the Alvarez family asked why the police were chasing Mr. Alvarez and what crime he had committed, if any, that led an officer to fatally shoot him.

“The Alvarez family and their legal team will not rest until these questions are answered and justice prevails,” they said. “We have faith that COPA and the state’s attorney will thoroughly investigate this tragedy.”

After the deaths of Mr. Alvarez and Adam Toledo, a seventh grader fatally shot by the police after a foot chase following reports of gunfire, Ms. Lightfoot said she favored a revised foot-pursuit policy for the troubled Police Department. She reiterated her stance on Wednesday, saying she was “anxious to get a new policy, but we’ve got to do it the right way.”

“We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed,” she said, not referring to a specific case. “That’s not acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone.”

David O. Brown, the Chicago police superintendent, declined to explain on Wednesday why the police were pursuing Mr. Alvarez, saying that it would be addressed during the COPA investigation. “I have to stay non-opinionated on facts until I get that complete investigation,” he said.

Ephraim Eaddy, a spokesman for COPA, said in a statement that Mr. Alvarez was “an individual familiar to the officers” who had attempted to stop him.

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