CHICAGO — Two crowds gathered in front of the 16th District Chicago police station on Saturday with two different reasons.
On one side at the intersection of Northwest Highway and Milwaukee Avenue, protesters were screaming for justice following the police killing of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez in Portage Park in March.
On the other side, demonstrators gathered to show support for Chicago police, as well as the officer who fatally shot Alvarez.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara showed his frustration at the protesters across the street, using some choice words to discuss the demonstrators’ agenda.
“They’re out here with a narrative that police kill people,” Catanzara said.
Sharing Catanzara’s frustrations was 38th Ward Alderman Nicholas Sposato, saying he did what he could to show police they are supported.
“I got a bunch of calls Thursday night about this anti-police rally. So people just asked me if we could do something. Come out here, let our police know we support them,” Sposato said.
Another message the pro-police demonstrators conveyed was their support for the officer who fatally shot Alvarez, Evan Solano.
Solano is also under investigation for a Logan Square road rage incident last week in which he exited a car with a firearm in his hand at an intersection.
“He had the gun in his hand, it was either the police officer that was going to die or the gang-banger with the illegal gun,” pro-police demonstrator Patty Marmol said.
On the other side, a completely different message was pushed by Alvarez’s loved ones and supporters, who say they are disgusted with the FOP and anyone defending Solano.
“They’re backing up a killer, they’re irrelevant to me,” Alvarez’s cousin Roxana Figeuroa said.
Figueroa said seeing the shooting death of her cousin was difficult, saying matters were made worse when learning of the road rage incident Solano is being investigated for as well.
“We are not doing anything to expose him. He’s exposing the type of person he is himself. It’s ridiculous how he’s still free, how they’re still letting him hold a gun,” Figueroa said.
During the protest, one person was taken into custody.