By DON BABWIN
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for calm Wednesday ahead of the release of video showing police fatally shoot a 22-year-old man — a repeat of just two weeks ago, when she called for peace before the release of footage showing police kill a 13-year-old boy.
In her statement, Lightfoot didn’t say when the video of the March 31 shooting of Anthony Alvarez would be released. But the independent police review board, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, provided it to the Latino man’s family on Tuesday and the head of the police union said it could be released to the public as soon as Wednesday.
An attorney for the Alvarez family, Todd Pugh, said he watched the video, “And I saw a Chicago police officer shoot their son as he ran away from them.”
Lightfoot didn’t say what the video shows and authorities haven’t released the name or other details about the officer who shot Alverez, including the officer’s race.
ightfoot said she understands COPA will be releasing the video “later this morning.” @dbabwin @rschneider
“We can’t live in a world where a minor traffic offense results in someone being shot and killed,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday morning at an unrelated event. “That’s not acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone.”
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“I urge everyone to look at both the raw footage at real speed but also to look at the frame by frame.” She said officers are often called on to make split second decisions, “particularly in instances like this one where there’s a gun.” (edited)
But in an unusual move, the head of the police officer’s union, John Catanzara, issued a statement in anticipation of what he said would be an outcry and “spin” about the shooting because Alvarez, whom he didn’t identify by name, was shot in the back.
“There is nothing wrong with this shooting just because the bullet struck the offender from behind,” Catanzara said in a video recorded statement.
“It is important for the public to look at this with an open mind,” he said.
Catanzara said the officer clearly saw Alvarez holding the weapon and that when he was shot, he was turning in the direction of the officer.
“The officer fears (he) would turn and fire because that’s the motion he was making,” Catanzara said.
Earlier this month, COPA released footage of the shooting of Adam Toledo. It showed a white officer shoot the Latino teen as he turned toward the officer raising his empty hands less than a second after the teen tossed aside or dropped a handgun.
As in Lightfoot’s statement before the release of the Toledo shooting footage, her statement in the Alvarez case was made in conjunction with attorneys for the family and had essentially the same message.
“The parties are acutely aware of the range of emotions that will accompany the release of these materials and we collectively issue this statement and ask that those who wish the express themselves do so peacefully and with respect for our communities and the residents of Chicago,” the Wednesday statement said.
Police say Alvarez brandished a gun while an officer chased him on foot. As it did after the Toledo shooting, the department posted a photo on social media of the weapon it says was found at the scene.
But the department and COPA, which investigates all Chicago police shootings, have said little about the shooting, leaving unanswered questions about whether Alvarez fired at police and where on his body he was shot. Nor has the department said why the officer was chasing Alvarez.
After the two shootings, Lightfoot announced that the police department would implement a new foot pursuit policy for its officers. The U.S. Department of Justice recommended that the department adopt such a policy four years ago as part of its broader critique of Chicago’s policing practices.
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