The family attorney of a man fatally shot by a Chicago police officer last year said Thursday that the Chicago Police Board denied a recommendation to fire the officer, instead recommending that he receive a suspension.
Police Board member Stephan Block reviewed the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s investigation and recommendation of dismissal and denied it, said Todd Pugh, an attorney for the family of Anthony Alvarez.
The Chicago Police Board is an independent civilian body that decides police disciplinary cases.
Alvarez, 22, was fatally shot by Chicago police Officer Evan Solano following a foot chase in March 2021.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
Pugh said Block’s decision was based on the Police Department not having a formal foot pursuit policy at the time, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Alvarez family is "appalled by Mr. Block’s decision to merely recommend a 20-day suspension of a police officer who COPA determined violated numerous policies and directives before killing Anthony Alvarez," Pugh said in a statement.
“Today’s decision is not only a gut-punch to the Alvarez family, but it perpetuates the message that encounters with the Chicago Police Department remain potentially lethal," the statement read.
Alvarez was shot while moving away from Solano, who was pursuing him and yelling at him to “drop the gun,” a video of the shooting released last year showed. Solano fired shots, and footage shows Alvarez drop a pistol as he fell to the ground. He was shot in the back and thigh, an autopsy later revealed.
His family filed a lawsuit in February alleging the city bears responsibility for his death partly because the Chicago Police Department did not have a policy on foot pursuits at the time.
In March, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced her office would not bring criminal charges against Solano. She said prosecutors determined Solano reasonably believed he was in danger when he opened fire.
The Police Department released its final version of a foot pursuit policy in June, which was in the making for over a year since the Alvarez and Toledo shootings.