Officer who fatally shot man in Portage Park now under microscope for allegedly pulling gun on another driver
Chicago Police Department has opened an internal affairs probe into the apparent road rage incident.
A Chicago police officer being investigated for fatally shooting an armed man from behind two months ago is now the subject of an internal police probe after video shows him pulling a gun during an apparent road rage incident in Logan Square.
In video shot by bystanders, the officer, who was in uniform and sporting a backwards ball cap, can be seen standing outside his red Ford Mustang holding a gun after an argument with another man who’d gotten out of a white SUV.
The incident took place about 6 p.m. May 21 at an intersection on Logan Boulevard a couple blocks west of the Kennedy Expressway.
The officer’s actions are being investigated by the police department’s bureau of internal affairs, police spokesman Tom Ahern said.
The department would not name the officer.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed the officer is the same officer who shot to death Anthony Alvarez March 31 in the Portage Park neighborhood.
Camille Sanchez, who witnessed this month’s encounter, said things became heated after the officer laid on his horn for a minute or two because he was trying to make a right turn from Richmond Street onto Logan Boulevard but was stuck behind a white SUV trying to turn left.
The man from the SUV got out of his car and an argument ensued, part of which was caught on video.
“I’ll rip you out of your f------ car,” the man tells the officer.
The police officer got out of his car and pulled his gun.
“I did not touch you,” the man says.
“You threatened me with that knife,” the officer says.
“No I did not. ... I didn’t not threaten you at all,” the man tells the officer. “You pulled a gun on me, I’ve got kids in the car.”
The man had a knife strapped to his leg, but he never pulled it, according to Sanchez, who recorded the incident on her cellphone.
A bystander can be heard telling the officer to put his gun away.
There was no physical contact between the two men, said Sanchez, who watched as marked police cars arrived, and the encounter ended peacefully.
“It was scary,” Sanchez said. “Especially because the guy had two small kids in his car.”
Video of the Alvarez shooting was released last month by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which investigates police shootings. It shows the officer shoot Alvarez in the back as he ran from police while holding a gun in his hand.
The police department has not released details on what led police to chase Alvarez.
COPA recommended to the police department the officer be stripped of his police powers pending the conclusion of their investigation, which is ongoing.
The department did not strip the officer of his police powers, Ahern said. He was placed on desk duty for 30 days after the shooting, which is standard. The police department extended his desk duty assignment, where he remains.
The 30-year-old officer joined the force in 2015. The Invisible Institute, which tracks police discipline, said the officer had four complaint records and 11 use-of-force reports between 2017 and mid-2020. The Chicago Sun-Times isn’t naming him because he isn’t officially accused of wrongdoing.