Chicago, IL

Announcement Chicago Police Who Fatally Shot Toledo and Alvarez Won't Face Charges Leads to Family Heartbreak

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Police officers involved in fatal shootings in two seperate incidents last year still face civil charges filed by families

Despite having what she called, "deep, deep concerns" about what led up to two fatal shootings in Chicago a year ago, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has announced that the two police officers responsible for the fatalities would not be charged in the deaths. ,

It's been almost a year since two individuals were fatally shot by Chicago police officers in late March in seperate incidents only days apart, each following foot pursuits. On March 29, 2021, Adam Toledo, age 13, was shot and killed by a CPD officer in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. Two days later, Anthony Alvarez, age 22, was chased then shot and killed by a Chicago police officer in the city's Portage Park neighborhood.

Outrage followed the release of body cam footage in both cases, in part due to it taking almost three weeks in the case of Toledo and a month in the case of Alvarez for this to happen. The footage of the Delgado shooting showed the teen may have thrown a gun behind a fence while being chased by the police. The officer yelled at him to stop and he did so slowly raising his arms in the air in surrender before being shot.

In Alvarez's case the body cam footage shows that although the victim had a gun it was at his side and not pointed at the police officer when the officer shot him five times. He was conscious after being shot, and can be heard asking the officer, “Why are you shooting me?” The officer simply replied that he had a gun.

Part of the anger that resulted in this shooting had to do with it appearing that the officers at the scene didn't know how to give the victim potentially life saving treatment such as CPR after he'd been shot and initially one of the cops was going to handcuff the victim. Aid was further delayed as the officer couldn't open a bag containing a chest shield. The other officer could be heard giving 911 the wrong address. Alvarez died later at the hospital.

There was no clear indication of the need to chase down either victim, leading to fury and demands from community Latino leaders for the Mayor to place a moratorium on police officers engaging in foot pursuits. This also resulted in hundreds of people gathering to protest, calling for justice.

In support of the decision, Foxx said that in both of these cases, the police officer involved had reason to believe his life was threatened and given the short amount of time there was to make a decision, that the shootings were reasonable reactions. Foxx added that in order for the police officers to be criminally prosecuted for first- or second-degree murder, "proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the involved officer was not legally justified in using deadly force," would be required.

Foxx did acknowledge that the police officers actions created the situations leading to the need to use deadly force. She said that she is concerned about the cops chasing down people on foot, and that the improper use of foot pursuits in these cases heavily contributed to the shootings.

In the case of Alvarez, she stated, "It was unnecessary for the officers to stop and engage with Mr. Alvarez, who was walking through a gas station parking lot, holding food and drink, He was not committing any crimes that were readily apparent to the officers at the time."

There has been a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against the city, saying the failure to put in place a responsible foot pursuit policy for the CPD was what led to Alvarez's death.

Foxx said she met with both families to inform them of the decision and that they were heartbroken.

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Chicago, IL
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