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Family of man fatally shot by Chicago police files lawsuit

Original Publication Date February 24, 2022 - 9:26 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — The family of an armed man who was shot in the back by Chicago police during a foot chase filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the city is partly responsible for his killing because there was no policy dictating officers' actions during such pursuits.

“The city’s failure to implement a foot-chase policy and its support of a policing culture of impunity were the driving force behind the (officers’) unconstitutional actions,” according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the mother of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez and Alvarez's daughter, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Chicago police spokesman Tom Ahern declined to comment, saying the department does not discuss pending litigation.

The fatal shootings of Alvarez and 13-year-old Adam Toledo by police in March of last year during foot pursuits sparked protests and calls in the city for the department to change its foot pursuit policies, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot announcing that a policy would be implemented.

In fact, four years earlier the U.S. Department of Justice in its critique of Chicago's policing practices recommended Chicago's police force implement such a policy, but it was never instituted. And today, nearly a full year after Lightfoot said a policy would be created, no policy is in place, though the police department has said it is in the final stages of implementing one.

Video of both shootings has been made public by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency that investigates police shootings in the city. While they show Alvarez and Toledo were each holding a handgun right before they were shot, the footage doesn't show either of them pointing the weapons at pursuing officers.

Video does show Officer Evan Solano running after Alvarez, shouting at him to drop the weapon, and then Alvarez dropping the weapon as he fell to the ground after Solano shot him. An autopsy revealed he was shot in the back and the thigh.

In the lawsuit, Alvarez's family contends that there was no legitimate reason to chase Alvarez and that Alvarez didn't threaten Solano or any other officers.

Alvarez's lawsuit names the city, police department, the officer who shot Alvarez — Evan Solano — and Solano's partner.

Shortly after the shooting, there was speculation that Solano might face criminal charges. The Cook County State's Attorney's office is reviewing the shooting but no announcement on criminal charges has been made. Solano has been stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of the probe.

News from © The Associated Press, 2022
The Associated Press

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