Alberto Covarrubias, a Chicago police officer who shot and killed Michael Craig, a Black man who called 911 with a domestic violence complaint last month, had a history of drinking and was disciplined for his on duty behavior in the past, records show.
According to documents obtained by the Daily Beast, the fatal shooting of Craig was only Covarrubias’ most recent incident.
In 2018, former superintendent Eddie Johnson filed charges with the board regarding the officer’s ability to perform his duties following his March 2016 arrest for domestic disturbance during which Covarrubias reportedly “appeared to be intoxicated.”
The officer was also accused of threatening a fellow cop and tampering with paperwork in a squad car. During his arrest, Covarrubias refused to take a breathalyzer test and was later charged with assault for threatening another officer.
At the time Johnson testified that Covarrubias admitted to being “under enormous amounts of stress related to his job as police officer and that he did not drink prior to joining the Police Department.” He also stated that Covarrubias claimed he was “affected by the poverty, despair, and violence that he encountered on a daily basis.”
Though Johnson had been looking to have Covarrubias fired, instead the officer was suspended, despite being found guilty of all charges against him. His suspension lasted only three months and he was reinstated shortly after seeking treatment for his drinking problem and had been cleared for duty by a psychologist.
Now Craig’s family is questioning whether Covarrubias was ever really fit to return to work following the tragic event that took place in the early morning hours of Oct. 4 when the officer arrived at Craig’s home.
“[The officer] somehow convinced this [police] board that he was all set to go and fit for duty,” attorney for the family, Michael Oppenheimer said during a press conference. “The superintendent said he was unfit for duty, he was a danger to the community, he was unfit for duty and incapable of handling a weapon.”
Craig called 911 asking for police because he said his wife was holding a knife to his throat as he lay in bed. Craig’s young son had ran to a neighbor to inform them, and they too called the police. When cops arrived they met the little boy outside as he explained to them what was going on. Body camera footage showed Covarrubias walking up the stairs to Craig’s apartment where he and his wife were arguing.
The officer pulled out both his Taser and firearm almost immediately upon arriving on scene and fired both weapons when entering the bedroom, hitting Craig, ABC 7 Chicago reported. Covarrubias fired again at Craig when the man tried to sit up. Craig’s older son Patrick Jenkins told reporters, “My dad laid there like a dog and died.”
The officer has not been charged as the investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
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