CHICAGO (CBS) — Once again, a foot chase is at the center of a deadly police shooting involving Chicago Police.
It happened with 13-year-old Adam Toledo, and it happened again just two days later with Anthony Alvarez.
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As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Wednesday, we are hearing a change in police policy could be just days away.
There are just two more days until the start of May, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot says within that month, she wants to see a clear foot pursuit policy for Chicago Police.
“That work is ongoing right now,” Mayor Lightfoot said, “so I’m hopeful that sometime in May, I’ll just put it without a date – we’ll be rolling out a new policy for public comment.”
A formal foot pursuit policy, now in draft form, is starting to circulate internally within the Chicago Police Department. Police Supt. David Brown confirmed that Wednesday, following the release of video showing the shooting death of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez in Portage Park. Cameras roll as an officer runs after him, and then opens fire.
This incident happened just two days after Adam Toledo was shot and killed after another police foot pursuit in Little Village. After his death, calls for a formal policy to be adopted were renewed – but the process has dragged on for years.
The Department of Justice asked for a policy three years ago. Other activists have demanded one for much longer than that.
“This is an issue that has been consistently delayed and delayed, and unfortunately, it’s taken these tragic deaths for there to be movement,” said Sheila Bedi of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, who was part of negotiations for the Chicago Police consent decree. “It is not hyperbole to say that this is a matter of life and death.”
Bedi believes the policy should define more than just when police can chase.
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“The issue is also regulating when police officers can engage with an individual, when they have the ability to stop somebody, when they have the ability to investigate, on the issue of what offenses,” she said.
In both the Toledo and Alvarez cases, decisions made in tenths of a second ended lives. Bedi wants the policy to save them.
“The reality is, every time a CPD officer is initiating that contact, there is a risk of death, and I think these two videos really help prove that,” Bedi said.
Supt. Brown said once the draft policy gets looked at within CPD, it will go to the independent monitor from the federal consent decree, and then the public gets its chance to share feedback.
He expects to be at that stage of the approval process in “the next few weeks.”
“We are at the point where we have a draft policy that we’re sending out through internal focus groups for feedback from our officers,” Brown said.
Brown says the CPD is currently gathering reaction from line officers, who are out in the streets making these high stakes decisions.
After the new foot pursuit policy is completed, the department will develop officer training around the new policy.
“We hope to roll out and implement the foot pursuit policy within the next few weeks. We are obviously proceeding with a sense of urgency as it relates to foot pursuit policies, and to highlight obviously the dangers; not only to the officers, gen general public, and the offenders public,” Brown said. “It is really important for us to get it right.”
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In developing the new foot pursuit policy, Brown said CPD has looked at policies from other departments under federal consent decrees to come up with the best practices going forward.