COPA releases video of Portage Park chase that ends in police fatally shooting man with gun
by BRIAN NADIG
Body camera footage from a recent shooting shows a man holding a gun and a cell phone fleeing from police and being shot multiple times from behind by an officer who orders him to drop the weapon before shooting him at about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, March 31, in the 5200 block of West Eddy Street in Portage Park.
Video footage released by the Chicago Office of Police Accountability on April 28 shows 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez getting fatally wounded as he is running with a gun with his back turned and the officer firing up to five shots at him in a front yard west of Laramie Avenue.
Alvarez lived in the 5200 block of West Addison Street, about a block from the shooting.
In the footage, two officers can be seen running through an alley and then south on Laramie in pursuit of Alvarez and that after one of the officers orders Alvarez to drop his gun the officer fires several times.
Alvarez then drops his gun as he falls to the ground and can be heard on the video saying, “Why are you shooting me?” The officer responds, “You had a gun.”
The officers attempt to render first aid to Alvarez, but he was later pounced deceased at Illinois Masonic Hospital from multiple gunshot wounds.
“Based upon information obtained in the early stages of the investigation, COPA has recommended the (16th District) police officer who discharged his weapon, fatally injuring Mr. Alvarez, be relieved of police powers during the (pending) of this investigation.
“Chicago Police Department 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 said in an April 28 statement. Prior to the foot chase and shooting, tactical officers can be seen in different footage driving up on Alvarez in an unmarked squad car with their lights flashing at a gas station on Addison and he begins running away.
“It’s one of those unfortunate tragedies, (but) the biggest thing is why is he running with a gun. He disobeys the police orders and doesn’t drop the gun,” said Alderman Nicholas Sposato, whose 38th Ward is about 4 blocks from the shooting. “I don’t think the cop did anything wrong.”
Sposato added that it is his understanding Alvarez was “not a hardened criminal” and the situation could have been safely resolved if he had not fled police.
The materials, released in accordance with the city’s 60-Day Video Release Policy, include police body-worn footage, third-party video, 911 transmissions, and case incident and tactical response reports. They can be viewed by visiting https://www.chicagocopa.org/case/2021-1161
COPA said that its investigation into the officer’s use of force is ongoing and asked that anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have additional information call COPA at 312-746-3609 or visit www.chicagocopa.org.
In a joint statement, lawyers for the Alvarez family and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “Both parties expect and have the utmost confidence that officials will determine the complete and unbiased set of facts in this case. This tragic event provides further motivation for the expediency for reform to the city’s foot pursuit policies.”
The release of the videos comes about 2 weeks after COPA released footage of the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot after he turned with his hands raised toward police. Video shows Toledo apparently throwing his gun to the ground before he was fatally shot.