Protesters gathered outside the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on July 22 to denounce the Chicago Police Board’s decision the day before not to fire killer cop Evan Solano.
On March 31, 2021, Chicago Police Department officer Solano fatally shot 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez during a foot pursuit. After more than a year’s investigation, the Chicago Agency for Police Accountability (COPA), which is responsible for receiving police complaints, released a statement that “department policy does not permit department members to use deadly force on a subject who flees with a firearm absent an imminent threat, which Mr. Alvarez did not pose here.” COPA recommended that Solano be fired.
However, police Superintendent David Brown did not relieve Solano of his police duties.
Due to this disagreement between the superintendent and COPA, the procedure states that a single reviewing member from the Chicago Police Board had to decide what sort of discipline Solano would receive. Ultimately, the reviewing member said that there was insufficient evidence to justify the firing of Solano and decided that he would only face a 20-day suspension.
Around 20 Party for Socialism and Liberation activists and family members of Anthony Alvarez attended the July 22 protest of this decision. Veronica Alvarez, the mother of Anthony, said, “Kim Foxx [the State’s Attorney] assured me that she would relieve Solano of his duties.” She continued, “I am angry because they have their protections, and they’re still fighting against a defenseless person, a person who has passed and can no longer protect themselves. I still want to know why Evan Solano chose to pursue and kill my son.”
Protester Candice Choo-Kang questioned the Chicago Police Board’s lack of accountability. She said, “Yesterday’s decision was made by a single police board member, Steven Block. This was an appointed position by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Why are non-elected officials able to make drastic decisions about our safety?”
Activist Don Gross highlighted how opportunistically Steven Block formerly “bragged about filing charges against Chicago police officers for murder. Now, he thinks the winds have shifted, and that defending these killer cops, no matter what they do, is the way forward for him.”
Both Choo-Kang and Gross announced that they would continue to fight for justice for other victims of police killings including Alexis Wilson and Madeline Miller.
Patrick McWilliams from the ANSWER Coalition put this decision in the context of the overall attack on democratic rights. On “one front, murders like these that happen without any justice.” We also see it on another front, McWilliams said, “in the recent rulings of the Supreme Court that say women can’t even control their own bodies. These things may not seem connected, but they are. And they are connected because each one of them is taking away basic rights from the people.”
Protesters then marched toward the Chicago Police Board building, chanting “Justice for Anthony Alvarez!” and “Jail Killer Cops!” and vowed to continue to fight for Anthony.
Feature photo: The family of Chicago police victim Anthony Alvarez marches with protesters to demand the firing of his killer, Evan Solano. Liberation photo.