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CHICAGO — The Chicago police officer who fatally shot an armed man during a foot chase on the Northwest Side last year will be suspended for 20 days for his failure to activate his bodyworn camera and properly load his gun on the night of the shooting, the Chicago Police Board announced at its monthly meeting Thursday night.

The officer’s partner, Sammy Encarnacion, who did not fire any shots at Alvarez, was also ordered suspended for 20 days because he did not immediately notify emergency dispatchers of the shooting, police board member Steven Block wrote in a ruling.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the agency that investigates use of force incidents by CPD officers, recommended that the CPD terminate officer Evan Solano for the fatal shooting of Anthony Alvarez on March 31, 2020 in the Portage Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

CPD Supt. David Brown, however, disagreed with COPA’s recommendation, and instead called for a 20-day suspension. That dispute triggered a police board process in which one member of the board, selected at random, had to decide whether or not Solano would face any future discipline.

It’s something that the Alvarez family and their attorney say is a punch to the gut.
“Throughout the community, the Spanish community,” family member Guilermo Montragon said. “How are we going to ask for help from police when this happened, even when COPA recommend to fire Evan Solano and they do something different, what does that mean?”

Block — a former Cook County prosecutor appointed to the police board less than a year ago —  noted that Solano had encountered Alvarez in another foot chase 11 months earlier, and that Alvarez was armed with a handgun the night he was killed. In his order, Block said he found “the use of deadly force against Mr. Alvarez was ‘permissible … to protect against an imminent threat to life or to prevent great bodily harm to [Officer Solano] or another person.’”

“This case is the epitome of a scenario where a police officer was ‘forced to make split second decisions in circumstances that [were] tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving,’” Block said.

Alvarez was shot and killed just two days after another CPD officer fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Little Village. Both shootings bolstered calls for the CPD to revamp its foot pursuit policy, which has since been updated. CPD officer are no longer allowed to give chase to suspects in minor offenses.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced last year that Solano, along with the officer who shot Toledo, would not face criminal charges.