A Chicago police officer who fatally shot an armed man in the back during a foot pursuit in March has been stripped of his police powers, the department confirmed on Monday.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Tom Ahern said Officer Evan Solano has been stripped of his powers pending an investigation into the March 31 shooting of Anthony Alvarez.
Superintendent David Brown did not explain why he waited until Monday to announce the move that was recommended by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability at least two months ago. Ahern said Brown told reporters that he made the decision after COPA provided him with more information.
In an email, John Catanzara, president of the Chicago police officers’ union, declined to comment.
Solano fatally shot the 22-year-old Alvarez two days after another Chicago officer shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo during another foot pursuit.
Video footage of that pursuit shows the teen was carrying a handgun that he either dropped or tossed aside less than a second before he was shot in the chest. Video footage from Solano’s body camera shows a foot pursuit in which the officer can be heard shouting, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun,” before he opens fire. Alvarez appears to drop the gun after five shots ring out and he falls to the ground.
The shootings of the teen and Alvarez, both Hispanic, put the department under intense scrutiny and raised further questions about a force that has long been dogged by a reputation for brutality and racism. While COPA did not recommend that the officer who shot Adam Toledo, Eric Stillman, be relieved of his police powers, it did recommend that Solano be stripped of his.
Shortly after the the teenager was killed, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had ordered the departmen t to draft an interim foot pursuit policy. Last month, the department announced a policy that, among other things, prohibits foot pursuits for minor traffic violations, and bars officers from separating from partners if they can’t see the person they’re chasing or if the officer or the person is injured.
Though the police department has not said why the officers were chasing Alvarez in the first place, Lightfoot suggested that it was related to a minor traffic offense, saying, “We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed.”
A key difference between the two shootings is that Stillman was chasing the teen after gunshots were fired nearby, allegedly by a man who authorities say was with Adam the night he died.