Militant Journalism

Chicago activists continue to call for killer cop to be fired, charged in death of Anthony Alvarez

On what would have been Anthony Alvarez’s 23rd birthday, dozens of activists gathered outside the 16th District police station in Chicago on Feb. 14 to celebrate Alvarez’s life and to demand justice for him. The event was organized by members of Alvarez’s family in coordination with the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

This demonstration took place weeks after Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability concluded its investigation and delivered its report to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. In COPA’s press release, they highlighted that Alvarez was “an individual familiar to officers.” However, despite closing the investigation, COPA did not offer any answers as to why Alvarez was being chased when he was shot and killed by police March 31, 2021. Brown now has 60 days to decide whether disciplinary action will be taken against Evan Solano, the officer who killed Alvarez. The family hopes this decision will come sooner.

Alvarez’s cousin Roxana Figueroa began by thanking everyone for their support and reiterating that the family will not stop until they get justice for her cousin: “We have been here in the very hot summer days, we are here in the cold, and we will continue to be here until Superintendent David Brown makes the right decision, and that is to fire and charge Evan Solano.“

In April 2021, COPA recommended that Solano be stripped of his police powers, yet it took Brown 60 days to follow through with this recommendation. Though Solano was stripped of his police powers pending investigation, anything short of firing and charging is unacceptable. 

Veronica Alvarez, Anthony’s mother, told Univision reporters, “I want justice for my son. I want not just him [Solano], but all those involved to be in jail. They didn’t do their job, they murdered my son. What I want is justice for my son!”

Despite the cold Chicago weather, the determined protesters held an hour-long rally and passionately chanted: “Indict convict, send Solano to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” Speakers drew connections to the struggle for justice for Christian Hall and the struggle to keep Laquan McDonald’s murder, Jason Van Dyke, in prison

Nataki Rhodes of the Laquan 9 came out to show solidarity with Alvarez’s family: “We must stand up and say ‘no,’ we must demand justice for our children, we must demand justice for Anthony.” She told Liberation News, “I have to stand out here in solidarity because my son is 28 years old, and my son is Laquan McDonald, my son is Anthony Alvarez, my son is Paul O’Neal, so I have to stand in solidarity.”

Dave Power from PSL Chicago ended his talk by reminding the crowd why they were gathered on this day to celebrate Anthony’s life: “The bigger the love, the bigger the things we do to honor it. Sometimes, the love is big enough to change the world, big enough to challenge this racist injustice system and put killer cops behind bars.”

Feature photo: PSL Chicago’s Dave Power demands justice for Anthony Alvarez on what would have been his 23rd birthday. Liberation photo

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