Chicago police commander stripped of power, faces felony charges

August 28, 2014

Katie O'Brien and Associated Press

(WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)
Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans

Updated Aug. 28, 10 p.m.

Prosecutors say a veteran Chicago police commander accused of misconduct chased a suspect into an abandoned building, stuck a gun down his throat and held a stun gun to his groin.

Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Lauren Freeman says DNA found on the gun is a match for the suspect who alleges he was abused during a January 2013 arrest.

Commander Glenn Evans, 52, is facing felony charges related to an excessive-force complaint filed by the man arrested. 

Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans

Evans has been on the Chicago police force for 28 years. He climbed the ranks, earning awards for valor and merit while serving in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. Evans also gained a reputation among the rank-and-file, and residents in the districts he served, as an aggressive, hard-working cop.

Dozens of excessive-force complaints have been filed against Evans over the years, but none quite like those alleged  in bond court Thursday.

Evans was on patrol in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, where he was serving as district commander at the time. He was responding to a report of shots fired in the area when he saw a man he believed to be armed. Evans announced his office and approached the man, who took off on foot. Evans pursued the suspect into an abandoned building--there, he found an unarmed Rickey Williams, 22, in a doorless closet.

As WBEZ first reported, an Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) investigation alleges Evans proceeded to stick his .45 caliber, Smith and Wesson, semi-automatic pistol deep down the Williams' throat while holding a taser to his groin.

Assistant State’s Attorney Freeman spoke in support of bond Thursday. She said as Evans allegedly held both weapons to the victim, he threatened to kill him if Williams did not tell him where the guns were. No guns were recovered at the scene, but Williams was charged with a misdemeanor reckless conduct offense, which was later dismissed.

Within three days of the incident, Williams had shared his story--and his DNA--with  IPRA. The sample was to be compared to a swab of Evans’ gun, which was taken on February 1, 2013. It was a couple of months before the samples were sent off to the crime lab for analysis. According to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the results did not come back until the following April.

“As I always say, DNA results are not obtained in 30 minutes like you see on TV,” Alvarez said.

After IPRA received the results, it turned over its findings to Alvarez’s office for criminal investigation. It also recommended to the police department that Evans be stripped of his police powers. That didn’t happen until Wednesday, when Evans was officially charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct.

Evans did not speak at his bond hearing Thursday. But his attorney, Laura Morask, vehemently denied the allegations, calling the investigation "incredibly flawed."

She says neither IPRA nor the state’s attorney’s office asked for Evans’ account of the incident in their respective investigations.

Asked whether her office had interviewed Evans, Alvarez said, “I won’t comment on any statements that were, or were not, made.”

It's another blow to a department dogged by a reputation for misconduct. Evans is among more than 660 officers who, according to recently released police records, had at least 11 misconduct complaints during a recent five-year period. The records show Evans was not disciplined in any of the incidents.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who promoted Evans in 2012 and has praised him, vigorously defended him at a news conference Monday. Before the bond hearing Thursday, McCarthy issued a release saying that if the alleged actions are true they are "unacceptable."

Evans left court without having to pay bail. Judge Laura Sullivan set a recognizance bond of $100,000, which means Evans doesn’t have to post bail unless he fails to appear in court. He didn’t have to speak with reporters either. The commander, and his attorneys, slipped out a back exit.