The Chicago police officer who shot and killed Anthony Alvarez during a foot chase earlier this year in Portage Park has been stripped of his police powers — an action that had been recommended by a civilian oversight board back in April.
Officer Evan Solano was relieved of his duties for the duration of an ongoing investigation into the shooting by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. COPA had recommended that the department take such action but Mayor Lori Lightfoot initially balked at the idea.
Police Superintendent David Brown declined to comment on Solano at an unrelated news conference on Monday.
“I’m going to defer until the investigation is complete but obviously we asked for additional information from COPA,” Brown said. “We received that and reviewed it and we’ve stripped him of his police powers.”
Police said the 22-year-old Alvarez was approached by tactical officers at a gas station, and the encounter escalated to a foot pursuit that began in the 3500 block of North Laramie Avenue. He was shot several times from behind by Solano.
It remains unclear why the officers confronted Alvarez.
COPA released a series of video from police-worn body cameras, as well as cameras from a nearby home. It shows Solano yelling, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!” before firing five shots from close range at Alvarez.
Video shows Alvarez with a gun in his right hand, but the gun drops from his hand as he falls to the pavement.
The shooting happened two days after 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed by a police officer during a foot chase in Little Village. Both deaths sparked outrage over police use-of -force with calls from Latino leaders for a moratorium on police foot pursuits. It also prompted mass protest as hundreds of people marched in Logan Square.
Solano was the subject of an additional internal police probe that showed him pulling a gun during an alleged road rage incident in Logan Square. In a viral video recorded in May by bystanders, Solano is seen in a police uniform exiting a red Ford Mustang with a backwards baseball cap.
After a heated argument, Solano confronts a man with a gun as bystanders shout at him to put it away.
Todd Pugh, an attorney for the Alvarez family, told the Sun-Times the removal of Solano’s power is long overdue but they are grateful it was finally done.
“We thought after the Logan Square incident he would’ve had his powers removed right away, but we are glad it’s finally being done,” Pugh said.
Solano began as a probationary police officer in 2015 and since then has had nearly a dozen investigations launched into his actions from CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs and COPA, according to his personnel records obtained by the Sun-Times.
These investigations include civil rights violations in relations to improper stops and searches, neglect of duty and other violations of departmental procedures.