COPA Releases Bodycam Footage Showing Police Officer Shooting and Killing Anthony Alvarez

Zack Miller | The PhoenixThe families of Anthony Alvarez, Adam Toledo and Marc Anthony Nevarez stand on the stage at a demonstration in Logan Square Park April 16.

Editor’s note: Graphic details could be offensive or disturbing to some readers.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released body camera footage April 28 showing Chicago police officers shooting and killing 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez in Portage Park March 31.

The new video was made public just 13 days after COPA, an agency that investigates police misconduct allegations, released body camera footage that shows a Chicago police officer shooting and killing 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Little Village March 29. 

It also comes in the wake of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, being found guilty of all three charges he faced in relation to his murder of George Floyd last May. 

Alvarez was shot and killed March 31 on the 5200 block of West Eddy Street in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood after police pursued him on foot.

The reports released by COPA didn’t include a reason as to why Alvarez was stopped. COPA didn’t immediately respond for comment. 

Warning: the video is extremely graphic.

The video shows the shooting officer pass another officer while chasing Alvarez down an alley. The officer then turns on to a residential street and Alvarez can be seen turning another corner. After following Alvarez around the corner, the officer shouts “Drop the gun, drop the gun” before drawing his weapon and firing his weapon five times, hitting Alvarez multiple times. 

Security camera footage from the home Alvarez was shot in front of, also released by COPA, shows Alvarez dropping a weapon into the grass before collapsing.

The other officer catches up after the shooting and Alvarez says, “Why are you shooting me?” The shooting officer replies, “Because you had a gun.” Both officers then tell Alvarez to “get on the ground.” 

Alvarez doesn’t appear to point a weapon at police in the videos released by COPA.

The other officer begins to render aid while the shooting officer attempts to handcuff Alvarez, though he stops when the witnessing officer tells him to stop so he can render aid.

An ambulance arrives on the scene approximately 10 minutes later, though it was initially blocked by the several police cars parked on the street where the shooting occurred. The body camera footage ends before paramedics can get to Alvarez.

In a joint statement April 28, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Alvarez family asked those who plan to demonstrate in the coming days to do so “peacefully and with respect for our communities.”

The statement mirrored an April 15 press release from Lightfoot’s office after the body camera footage from Adam’s death was released.

During an April 28 press conference for Lightfoot’s Invest South/West program, she gave additional comments about Alvarez’s killing, including another condemnation of foot pursuits after inferring the shooting followed a traffic stop.

“We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed,” Lightfoot said. “This shooting involved a foot chase. The department is making progress on my directive to revise the foot chase policy. As I’ve said before, it’s one of the most dangerous activities that officers engage in. Dangerous for themselves, dangerous for the person being pursued and dangerous for the public.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois called for a “complete and transparent” investigation, as they did with Adam’s death. 

“For the second time in weeks, the people of Chicago are presented with video footage of a young Latino man being shot and killed by police during a foot pursuit,” Colleen Connell, the executive director of ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement. “Chicago residents deserve meaningful changes to policing. They deserve a new policy on foot pursuits … one that actually results in changes in how police officers treat human beings.”

Chicago has recently seen protests over the deaths of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright, an unarmed 20-year-old Black man shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer, the Associated Press reported.

While the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) announced preparations for previous demonstrations against police killings, the group has been silent since the release of the video.

Loyola’s Campus Safety is “monitoring the situation closely,” though there are no preparations to close either campus, according to Loyola spokesperson Anna Shymanski Zach. Loyola’s Water Tower Campus closed April 20, excluding “essential operations,” in anticipation of civil unrest following the verdict in Chauvin’s trial.

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