Video of Chicago police fatally shooting Anthony Alvarez late last month is set to be released on Wednesday, one day after his family viewed the footage they said left them with more questions than answers.
Alvarez’s family viewed the video Tuesday at the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability headquarters. Minutes after seeing the footage, a family member translated his mother Veronica Alvarez’s reaction.
“I want more answers. The videos I saw don’t explain what I saw in the morgue,” she said. “I want to know why they were running after him. To this day I have no answers.”
Police fatally shot 22-year-old Alvarez in the early morning hours of March 31.
At the time, police said the incident took place at around 12:18 a.m. in the 3500 block of North Laramie Avenue, where officers were “engaged in a foot pursuit.”
Police said that during the pursuit, the person – later identified as Alvarez – “produced a handgun which led to a confrontation” in the 5200 block of West Eddy Street and officer opened fire, striking him.
Alvarez was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead, officials said. Police said a weapon was recovered from the scene but have not shared further details on the shooting.
NBC 5 has not independently verified the reports of the incident from police and body-camera footage has not yet been released.
COPA, Chicago’s police oversight agency, is leading the investigation into the shooting and the officers involved have been placed on administrative duties for 30 days in accordance with department protocol.
Todd Pugh, an attorney for the Alvarez family, said the footage they saw Tuesday left them with “more questions than answers.”
“As his mother indicated already, it has really left us with more questions than answers, but I know what I saw. I saw Chicago police officers shoot their son as he ran away from them,” Pugh said.
The video is set to be released as Chicago is still reeling from the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, which occurred during a foot pursuit in the Little Village neighborhood two days before police killed Alvarez.
COPA released body-camera footage of an officer fatally shooting Adam, as well as other materials related to the investigation, on April 15.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and attorneys for Alvarez’s family said in a joint statement Wednesday morning that the release of the videos would begin the family’s “long process of healing” and asked that anyone expressing themselves after the release “do so peacefully.”
“The Alvarez family, through counsel, Todd Pugh, Tania Dimitrova, and Steven Fine, has advised that they believe that the release of these videos will be the beginning of a long process of healing for the family, and for all those who knew and loved Anthony,” the joint statement reads.
“Both parties are acutely aware of the range of emotions that will accompany the release of these materials, and we collectively issue this statement and ask that those who wish to express themselves do so peacefully and with respect for our communities and the residents of Chicago,” Lightfoot and the Alvarez family’s legal team said.
“COPA’s investigation is ongoing, and both parties expect and have the utmost confidence that officials will determine the complete and unbiased set of facts in this case. This tragic event provides further motivation for the expediency for reform to the City’s foot pursuit policies. We ask that all continue to respect the Alvarez family’s right to privacy as they grieve during this incredibly painful time,” the statement concludes.
The week after the two fatal police shootings, Lightfoot called for a review of the Chicago Police Department’s foot-chase policy, saying pursuits create “a dangerous environment for all involved.”
A review of the foot pursuit policy is a requirement of the consent decree the city entered under then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2019, an effort overseen by a federal judge to implement reforms.
That consent decree came after a Department of Justice investigation, sparked in 2015 by release of video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times the year before, found in its 2017 report that CPD “engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation” of the U.S. Constitution.