The Chicago police officer who shot and killed a male domestic violence victim who had called 911 for help last month was almost fired in the past for a drunken domestic incident in which he threatened another cop and refused to take a breathalyzer test.
But Alberto Covarrubias was allowed to keep his job after serving a four-month suspension where he supposedly attended Alcohol Anonymous classes.
However, the victim’s family members are saying their loved one would still be alive had he been fired.
The shooting incident took place on October 4, 2021 after Michael Craig called 911 to report his wife was attacking him with a knife, something she had done in the past because she suffered from mental illness and would sometimes go off her medication.
Bodycam video shows Covarrubias pulling up the building where the couple’s 7-year-old boy was waiting to let them in.
“Who has the knife?” the cop asks.
“My mommy,” the boy responds.
“Who told you to call?”
“My daddy,” the boy responds.
But that information did not seem to register with Covarrubias because he shot and killed the boy’s father within seconds of entering the apartment with a taser in one hand and a gun in the other.
“Where did he stab you? Where did he cut you?” Covarrubias asks the woman even though she was the one doing the stabbing.
Another cops then enters the apartment and asks who did the stabbing.
“He had the knife and started poking her,” Covarrubias responds.
However, not only did Craig call 911 for help but also a neighbor who said he was being stabbed by his wife place a call as well. Chicago police, in fact, had responded to similar incidents in the past although it is not clear if Covarrubias was involved in those prior incidents, according to the Daily Beast.
It was 5:24 a.m. on March 26, 2016 when police responded to a call of a drunk couple loudly arguing in the streets which turned out to be Covarrubias and a woman named Guadalupe Morales, according to public records.
Covarrubias flashed the cops his badge and told them he had been drinking since 2 p.m. the prior day but would not give them any more information nor submit to a breathalyzer test.
Police placed him in the passenger seat of a patrol car but then he started fiddling with the computer screen inside the car and even pocketed some documents that were on the computer.
When Chicago police officer Christopher Oehmen told him not to touch the computer screen, Covarrubias told him he thought they were “brothers.” When Oehmen told him they were not brothers, Covarrubias responded in anger.
“Do you want me to step out of this car and kick your fucking ass?” he told the cop which is what led to a charge of assault against him.
But even after he was arrested and transported to a police station, Covarrubias refused to take a breathalyzer test or sign any documents, although he did allow his photograph to be taken that day. The assault charge was eventually dropped.
More than two years later, Chicago Superintendent of Police Eddie T. Johnson – who had his own embarrassing public drunkenness incident where he flashed his badge after passing out in his car at a stop sign – recommended to the Police Board of Chicago that Covarrubias be fired.
But despite the board determining Covarrubias violated several rules and policies, he was allowed to be reinstated after proving he is “certified as psychologically fit for duty.” And he was able to do that four months later after submitting a report from a clinical psychologist and attending Alcohol Anonymous classes.
In his hearing, Covarrubias testified that stress from the job is what drove him to drink and that he did not drink prior to him being hired in 2013 but he was “affected by the poverty, despair, and violence that he encountered on a daily basis.”
There is no mention in the investigative report if he ever submitted to any blood or breathalyzer test to prove his sobriety. Nevertheless, he was reinstated in August 2019.
That arrest, however, was not his first. According to NBC Chicago, Covarrubias was arrested for disorderly conduct in 1999 and again for disorderly conduct in 2010 where he received four months probation.
“The Chicago police board by a vote of 9-0 voted to reinstate him into the Chicago Police Department,” Michael Oppenheimer, attorney for Craig’s family, told local media.
“If officer Covarrubias had been taken off the street because they realized he was danger to the community and to the police department, and unfit to wear a badge and carry a weapon, Michael Craig would be alive today.”
Watch the video below.