Congressman calls for removal of police commander accused of assault

August 13, 2014

(AP file/Morry Gash)
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago, says Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration should reassign Cmdr. Glenn Evans until an investigation is complete.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration should remove a West Side police commander to help avert the sort of violence that has roiled a St. Louis suburb this week.

Davis (D-Chicago) said Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who is under criminal investigation for allegedly assaulting an arrested man, should be reassigned until the case is over.

“Let’s just find some other work right now for the commander to do,” Davis said late Tuesday in his East Garfield Park office. “That’s what I think would be in the best interests of promoting the kind of relationships between law enforcement and community” that prevents rioting like what hit Ferguson, Missouri, after one of that suburb’s police officers fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.

“It has happened many, many times in Chicago,” Davis said. “So I think an ounce of prevention is worth much more than a pound of cure.”

Evans last year allegedly jammed his pistol into an arrested man’s mouth and threatened his life. After a lab test found the arrestee’s DNA on that gun, the Independent Police Review Authority recommended in April that police Supt. Garry McCarthy relieve Evans of his police powers and “evaluate” the commander’s assignment.

The agency also referred the case to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office.

The investigation follows at least 45 excessive-force complaints against Evans between 1988 and 2008, according to a report detailed last week by WBEZ. Authorities responsible for looking into the complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action.

McCarthy has credited Evans, a 28-year department veteran, for a drop in shootings in a South Side district he commanded until March.

Davis, who has campaigned against police brutality in the past, said Evans may be a great police officer but the department should still reassign him “until this is cleaned up, so that there are no misunderstandings of what the department believes ought to be the approach to policing.”

Read all our coverage about Cmdr. Glenn Evans

“If there is a cloud right now, relative to his use of force and how he might be training officers,” said Davis, whose district includes nearly all of Evans’ district, “I would think he not be in the command position.”

Neither McCarthy nor Emanuel have answered questions about the decision to leave Evans in his post as the investigation continues.

Reached Tuesday evening about Davis’s statements, Emanuel’s office did not comment.

A McCarthy spokesman wrote that the police department takes “any allegations seriously but, as is always the case, we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Some rank-and-file officers and community members have spoken up for Evans, calling him an attentive and hard-working crime fighter.

Evans has declined to comment about the investigation.

Chip Mitchell is WBEZ’s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMitchell1 and @WBEZoutloud, and connect with him through Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.