Militant Journalism

Chicago activists demand justice as killer cop returns to work after 20-day suspension

On Aug. 10, dozens of activists gathered outside the 16th District police station in Chicago to protest the return to duty of killer cop Evan Solano after only a 20-day suspension for the death of Anthony Alvarez.

Despite Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommending Solano be fired for the fatal shooting of Alvarez on March 31, 2021, Police Superintendent David Brown disagreed with the punishment leading to a review by a single member from the mayor-appointed Police Board. The review by Steven Block said that there was insufficient evidence to justify the firing of Solano and that he would only face a suspension.

“We witnessed a setback when Superintendent Brown announced Evan Solano’s suspension, but what this proves, what coming out here today proves, is that it is only a setback in our struggle to get justice for Anthony. We’re going to keep fighting till we get that justice,” Tanner Dx from the Party for Socialism and Liberation told the crowd. 

He went on to discuss the Justice Department’s 2017 investigation of the Chicago Police Department and their findings that the CPD is consistently “brutal, racist and violates our 4th amendment rights.” He concluded his talk by calling on the Federal Government to investigate CPD’s handling of Solano: “We cannot wait for more Anthonys, for more Adam Toledos or more Breonna Taylors. We call on the Justice Department to press charges against Evan Solano for his violation of Anthony’s constitutional rights.”

Over a year since her cousin’s death, knowing that his killer will be getting a badge and gun back, Roxana Figueroa told Liberation News, “My family is disappointed in the leaders that are running our city, people we are supposed to feel protected by. We don’t feel safe with Evan Solano back on the streets.” Even after this setback, her family remains undeterred: “We’re still going to keep fighting for justice. This is not over.”

The family’s continued fighting in the streets has drawn in others from the community who have their own experiences with this unjust police system. A group of teenagers who saw the protest, decided to join. One told Liberation News, “A lot of people have been damned by police brutality, and we have an uncle of ours who’s gone to jail. So we came down to show our support because it’s good to show support even if you’re not kin to the person, but know what the family’s going through.”

Other activists at the protest included Cassandra Greer-Lee, whose husband Nickolas Lee died after contracting COVID-19 in 2020 while incarcerated in Cook County Jail, and Dr. La’Shawn Littrice of Make Noize for Change.

Before speaking about the Marxist approach to police abolition, PSL organizer Summer Pappachen began with a poem from Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Assata Shakur

She went on to discuss the role of police in upholding this racist, unequal system. The system in which a pandemic is allowed to kill over a million people in the United States, inflation keeps people from affording food or gas, and rising rents force people onto the streets. And when the people decide enough is enough, the police are the ones who fight against us.

“This is the meaning of ‘abolishing’ the police in the Marxist sense — to replace a system based on profit with a system based on meeting people’s needs,” Pappachen said. “So when it comes to fighting for justice for Anthony, for Adam, for Nick Lee, for Alexis Wilson, for Madeline Miller, we have got to work to put their killers in jail and bring about small changes. But we have also got to work to put the very system that allowed their deaths to happen in the first place into the dustbin of history!”

Activists will rally again at the Chicago offices of the Justice Department at 230 S. Dearborn St. on Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. to demand federal intervention in the case.

Feature photo: Chicago activists rally outside the 16th District police station to protest the return to duty of killer cop Evan Solano. Liberation photo

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