WBEZ | Independent Police Review Authority http://www.wbez.org/tags/independent-police-review-authority Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Independent Police Review Authority fires investigator http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-21/independent-police-review-authority-fires-investigator-112437 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lorenzo Davis Chip.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Whenever there&rsquo;s a police shooting by a Chicago cop, it&rsquo;s investigated by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority. Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified. Lorenzo Davis was a supervising investigator with IPRA. He joined the agency in 2008. According to IPRA internal records obtained by WBEZ, he was fired earlier this month after resisting orders to reverse his findings that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified. WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell revealed the story Monday and joins us now with more details and the reaction from some elected officials.</p></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-21/independent-police-review-authority-fires-investigator-112437 City fires investigator who found cops at fault in shootings http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lorenzo Davis 3 crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.</p><p>Scott M. Ando, chief administrator of the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority, informed its staff in a July 9 email that the agency no longer employed supervising investigator Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander. IPRA investigates police-brutality complaints and recommends any punishment.</p><p>Davis&rsquo;s termination came less than two weeks after top IPRA officials, evaluating Davis&rsquo;s job performance, accused him of &ldquo;a clear bias against the police&rdquo; and called him &ldquo;the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,&rdquo; as officer-involved shootings are known in the agency.</p><p>Since its 2007 creation, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by police and found one to be unjustified.</p><p>WBEZ asked to interview Ando, promoted last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head the agency. The station also sent Ando&rsquo;s spokesman questions about sticking points between IPRA investigators and managers, about the agency&rsquo;s process for overturning investigative findings, and about the reasons the agency had reversed many of Davis&rsquo;s findings.</p><p>The spokesman said there would be no interview and sent this statement: &ldquo;This is a personnel matter that would be inappropriate to address through the media, though the allegations are baseless and without merit. IPRA is committed to conducting fair, unbiased, objective, thorough and timely investigations of allegations of police misconduct and officer-involved shootings.&rdquo;<br /><br />The performance evaluation covered 19 months and concluded that Davis &ldquo;displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police in spite of his own lengthy police career.&rdquo;</p><p>Davis served in the police department for 23 years. As a commander, he headed detective units, the department&rsquo;s Austin district and, finally, its public-housing unit. He retired from the department in 2004.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215914655&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=true&amp;show_comments=false&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">▲&nbsp;</span><strong>LISTEN: </strong><em>Lorenzo Davis told host Melba Lara in a July 22 interview that he hopes there is a federal investigation into his claims about the Independent Police Review Authority.</em><br /><br />&ldquo;I did not like the direction the police department had taken,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do. The discipline was no longer there.&rdquo;<br /><br />After leaving the department, Davis says, he kept thinking about police conduct, especially shootings. Davis, who had a law degree, says he wondered how often the officers really faced life-threatening dangers that would justify deadly force.<br /><br />&ldquo;If there are a few bad police officers who have committed some shootings that are unnecessary or bad then it erodes the public&rsquo;s confidence in all the other police officers out there,&rdquo; Davis said.<br /><br />A series of police-conduct scandals, meanwhile, led Mayor Richard M. Daley to move a unit called the Office of Professional Standards from the police department to his direct control. He renamed the unit the Independent Police Review Authority.<br /><br />IPRA hired Davis as an investigator in 2008. Two years later, around the time he completed a master&rsquo;s degree in criminal justice, IPRA promoted him to lead a team of five investigators.</p><p>Through most of his IPRA tenure, Davis&rsquo;s performance evaluations showered him with praise. They called him an &ldquo;effective leader&rdquo; and &ldquo;excellent team player.&rdquo;</p><p>The final evaluation, issued June 26, said he &ldquo;is clearly not a team player.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis, who earned $93,024 a year in the job, says he applied at different points for higher IPRA posts, including chief administrator. He says getting passed over for them did not affect his performance.<br /><br />&ldquo;Things began to turn sour, I would say, within the last year,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;Chief Administrator Ando began to say that he wanted me to change my findings.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis says he helped investigate more than a dozen shootings by police at the agency. He says his superiors had no objections when his team recommended exonerating officers. The objections came, he says, after each finding that a shooting was unjustified. He says there were six of those cases.<br /><br />&ldquo;They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot,&rdquo; Davis said about those officers. &ldquo;They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis says he can&rsquo;t go into detail about the cases because some are still pending and because the city considers them confidential. Emanuel&rsquo;s office did not respond to WBEZ questions about Davis&rsquo;s termination or about IPRA&rsquo;s record investigating shootings by officers.</p><p>Former IPRA Chief Administrator Ilana Rosenzweig, who hired both Ando and Davis before leaving the agency in 2013, declined to comment about the termination.<br /><br />Anthony Finnell, a former IPRA supervising investigator, says he considers Davis a mentor. He says the two would confer on cases.</p><p>&ldquo;When the investigators would bring cases to us, as supervisors, we would look, first, to see if the officer was justified in his actions,&rdquo; said Finnell, who now heads a police-oversight agency in Oakland, California.<br /><br />Finnell, who left IPRA last year, says the agency&rsquo;s investigators were better situated than its management to size up a case.</p><p>&ldquo;Many times we would look at the situation and say, &lsquo;Well, I don&rsquo;t think that reasoning makes sense or that officer is not being as truthful as I think he should be,&rsquo; &rdquo; Finnell said. &ldquo;In fact, many times we may have thought they had lied.&rdquo;<br /><br />Finnell, who worked at IPRA only 15 months, says he was never asked to change findings. If he had been, he says, he would have followed Davis&rsquo;s example.</p><p>&ldquo;As an investigator,&rdquo; Finnell said, &ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t just change findings because someone told me to.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423 'A gun that could never have been fired' http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo 4-1.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Calvin Cross was two blocks from his home on a spring night in 2011. He had just returned from Job Corps, where he earned a certificate for brick laying; and had recently learned that his longtime girlfriend was pregnant. After finishing dinner at home, where he lived with his mom and two older sisters, Cross went out with a friend Ryan Cornell. Both men were 19 years old&mdash;and black&mdash;walking in the West Pullman neighborhood.</p><p>Just about a month later, Cross&rsquo; girlfriend Tunoka Jett would give birth to a baby boy: A son Cross would never meet.</p><p>Near the corner of 124th and Wallace streets, a Chicago police car with three on-duty officers inside pulled up next to the teens. The police officers would later say they were responding to reports of gunshots in the area&mdash;and that Cross was holding his waistband, as if he had a gun.</p><p>The chronology of events after the car pulled up is in dispute&mdash;and will never be settled&mdash;but new light has been shed on the case by a <a href="http://t.co/hybHJukcUj" target="_blank">recently released report</a> from the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct.</p><p>What is known is that, at some point, the officers got out of the car, Cross started running&mdash;and the three cops chased him, firing 45 shots and hitting Cross five times.</p><p>According to the Cook County Medical Examiner&rsquo;s report, a bullet to Cross&rsquo; face was the shot that ultimately killed him.</p><p>&ldquo;My client runs, Ryan Cornell stays put. The three officers chase my client, Ryan Cornell goes back to my client&rsquo;s home and tells his mom they&rsquo;re shooting at Calvin,&rdquo; Cross family attorney Tony Thedford said of that night.</p><p>And Cross&rsquo; mom, Dana, said she heard the gunshots from her home.</p><p>Thedford said Calvin Cross&rsquo; fatal decision to run from the police, rather than stay put like Cornell, was the result of Cross&rsquo; relative inexperience dealing with police.</p><p>The 19-year-old had never been arrested; his mom described her youngest child as a &ldquo;homebody.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was an easygoing person, well liked&hellip;he was in the men&rsquo;s choir at our church,&rdquo; Dana Cross said. &ldquo;He didn&rsquo;t hang out&hellip;he liked to stay at home [and] play games.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department referred questions about the shooting to the city&rsquo;s law department; and an attorney for the three cops involved declined a request to interview the officers. So this account is based on federal court filings, testimony by a city attorney, a report from the Independent Police Review Authority, Cross&rsquo; mother and her family&rsquo;s attorneys.</p><p>The officers involved said while Cross was running, he opened fire, forcing them to shoot back.</p><p>The Independent Police Review Authority&mdash;the agency charged with investigating officer-involved shootings&mdash;ruled the shooting justified; but the final report, released Friday, notes that the weapon recovered was never fired, directly contradicting the officers&rsquo; version of events.</p><p>&ldquo;The detectives&rsquo; Supplementary Report indicates that, although the involved officers all reported that Subject 1 fired at them, the recovered revolver was fully-loaded,&rdquo; the IPRA report reads, and goes on to say, that &ldquo;a gunshot residue examination on [Cross] was negative.&rdquo;</p><p>And the Illinois State Police Crime Lab ruled that the gun recovered at the scene was &ldquo;inoperable.&rdquo;</p><p>Also, family attorney Torreya Hamilton said there were no fingerprints on the gun.<br /><br />&ldquo;Why, when the police department learned that these police officers were fired at with a gun that was impossible to be fired, why weren&rsquo;t they looked at for criminal charges?&rdquo; Hamilton asked. &ldquo;Unless you have a video, apparently&hellip;you&rsquo;re not going to be looked at for criminal charges if you&rsquo;re a police officer. And these police officers are still out on the street. They&rsquo;re still telling the story about being shot at with a gun that could never have been fired at them.&rdquo;</p><p>And Thedford says the unusable weapon found by police was hundreds of feet away from the crime scene, and out of Cross&rsquo; path.</p><p>&ldquo;Where he was found dead was at a fence. Our belief is that he was trying to get past that fence so he could keep running,&rdquo; Thedford said. &ldquo;We believe, and will always believe, that our client ran because he was afraid. He saw this weapon and he ran.&rdquo;</p><p>On May 31, 2012, exactly one year after Cross&rsquo; death, his family filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officers involved. And on Wednesday, the Chicago City Council approved a $2 million payout to settle the case.</p><p>Thedford said Cross&rsquo; son, now 3 years old, was the impetus for settling a case they had long expected would go to trial.</p><p>And after taking out attorneys fees, all of the remaining settlement will go to the child - named Calvin, after his father - in monthly payments to a trust until he turns 30.</p><p>&ldquo;At least I know he&rsquo;ll be taken care of,&rdquo; his grandmother said. &ldquo;But if I could give all that money back so he can have his daddy back, that&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;d do.&rdquo;</p><p>Cross said she is too angry to talk about the fact that the shooting was ruled justified and the officers remain on the force. She&rsquo;s also haunted by the lack of attention paid to her son&rsquo;s death.</p><p>&ldquo;No police officer ever came to talk to me. No news people ever came to talk to me. Nobody. It&rsquo;s like my son was shot and killed and it&rsquo;s just that&rsquo;s it, that&rsquo;s all,&rdquo; Cross said.</p><p>Thedford thinks that silence is because of who Calvin was: A 19-year-old black man on the South Side of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;Is there an expectation that he&rsquo;s a part of some faceless, nameless horde that they always get shot, they&rsquo;re always up to something, there&rsquo;s always some assumption that he must have been up to no good? I think the reason that it was immediately believed that whatever version the police officers gave was correct is because he fit the mold,&rdquo; Thedford said.</p><p>On the same day the city approved the Cross settlement, the city council also agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit over the 2010 death of Joshua Madison. Taking these most recent settlements into account, the city has paid out a total of $8 million so far this year for Chicago police shootings.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ Producer/Reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226 In mayoral campaign's 11th hour, Emanuel meets with critics of police http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Knox THUMNAIL square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A social-justice coalition representing religious congregations and senior citizens is praising Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for meeting with them about police accountability &mdash; and complaining that his words at the gathering fell far short of their demands.</p><p>Rev. Eddie Knox Jr., pastor of Pullman Presbyterian Church, says the activists had been trying since October to get a meeting with Emanuel but could not nail him down, even as the police conduct issue boiled over in the wake of an officer&rsquo;s fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.</p><p>&ldquo;Congregations heard over and over again &mdash; in our neighborhood canvasses &mdash; that our communities were being terrorized by police,&rdquo; Knox said.</p><p dir="ltr">The Emanuel meeting took place in his City Hall office Saturday morning and lasted almost an hour &mdash; a distraction from the campaign trail during the last weekend before voters decide whether to reelect him Tuesday. The meeting included several of Emanuel&rsquo;s senior staff members but not police Supt. Garry McCarthy.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition includes the Community Renewal Society, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America. The ages and religious bent of the activists distinguish them from the young adults and leftists who have led many Chicago street protests since the Ferguson shooting.</p><p dir="ltr">The demands span three topics: the police department&rsquo;s body-camera program, the department&rsquo;s &ldquo;stop-and-frisk&rdquo; tactics, and the city&rsquo;s police-oversight agencies.</p><p dir="ltr">On the body cameras, Rev. Sara Wohlleb of the Latin America network said the coalition wants &ldquo;discipline for officers who fail to turn on the camera during any interaction with the public&rdquo; and discipline for the supervisors of those officers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We also need the assurance that the recording will never be erased by the police department or any authority,&rdquo; Wohlleb said. &ldquo;We are asking for disclosure of videos and, in the case of flagged recordings where there&rsquo;s a particular concern, we need that recording to be released to the public. We are also asking for public participation in the evaluation of the program.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">On the stop-and-frisk tactics, the coalition is demanding that data on the stops be collected and made public, that training for officers about legal requirements be improved, and that the people who are stopped get detailed receipts.</p><p dir="ltr">On police oversight, the coalition is calling for a &ldquo;complete&rdquo; overhaul of the Independent Police Review Authority, a city agency <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">now led by former law-enforcement personnel</a>, the activists noted. They also called for an independent police auditor or an &ldquo;elected civilian accountability council.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition criticized the police department&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank">handling of indicted Cmdr. Glenn Evans</a> and demanded that the police chief no longer be able to &ldquo;alter, adjust, veto or fight&rdquo; steps recommended by IPRA or the police department&rsquo;s Internal Affairs Division.</p><p dir="ltr">A statement from Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s office calls the meeting &ldquo;positive and productive&rdquo; and says the city is already implementing some of the proposals, including discipline for officers who do not use their body cameras. The statement also says state law and the city&rsquo;s contract with the police union would block some of the proposals. The mayor&rsquo;s office agreed to another meeting with the coalition by early next month.</p><p>Speakers at the press conference included three of the most prominent supporters of Emanuel&rsquo;s mayoral challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesús Chuy García. Those three were Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele. Their role led to questions about whether the coalition was trying to hurt Emanuel in Tuesday&rsquo;s election.</p><p>Nora Gaines of the Jane Addams Senior Caucus responded. &ldquo;People have been asking to meet with the mayor for months and months,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The mayor chose to meet with us this Saturday morning before the election. You would have to ask him why he did that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Asked about the meeting&rsquo;s timing, a spokesman for the mayor did not answer.</p><p dir="ltr">The coalition said it had met with García and that he had promised, if elected mayor, to approach police accountability with more &ldquo;sensitivity.&rdquo; But the issue has taken a backseat in García&rsquo;s mayoral campaign. Instead the challenger has pledged to hire 1,000 new police officers &mdash; something he says Emanuel promised four years ago.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a>&nbsp;is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 18:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayoral-campaigns-11th-hour-emanuel-meets-critics-police-111830 Who polices the police? In Chicago, it's increasingly ex-cops http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P1080151cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: right; height: 236px; width: 350px;" title="Protests like this one at Chicago police headquarters last week have become frequent since August, when an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot to death an unarmed 18-year-old. Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency in charge of investigating shootings by cops, has never found one to be unjustified. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Public officials around the country are grappling with how to handle police officers accused of using deadly force without justification. In New York City, it&rsquo;s an officer whose chokehold led to the death of a 43-year-old man in July. In Cleveland, it&rsquo;s&nbsp;a cop who fatally shot a 12-year-old last month. In Ferguson, Missouri, tempers are still hot about the August shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s Chicago. Since 2007, according to city records, police gunfire has killed at least 116 people and injured another 258. The city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority, the agency in charge of investigating those shootings, has not found a single one to be unjustified.</p><p>Now a WBEZ investigation raises questions about just how independent the agency is. City records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that IPRA&rsquo;s management now includes six former cops &mdash; officials who have spent most of their career in sworn law enforcement. Those include the agency&rsquo;s top three leaders.</p><p>&ldquo;Complaints may be seen not through the eyes of the citizen but through the eyes of a police officer,&rdquo; said Paula Tillman, a former IPRA investigative supervisor who was a Chicago cop herself in the 1970s and 1980s. &ldquo;The investigations can be engineered so that they have a tilt toward law enforcement and not what the citizen is trying to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Tillman, who left IPRA in 2012, said she noticed a tilt in some of those shooting probes.</p><p>Experts say a paucity of sustained excessive-force complaints is not unusual for a police-oversight agency, even in a big city. But it was not supposed to be that way in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;One misconduct [incident] is one too many and I think people want openness &mdash; transparency from the police department,&rdquo; Mayor Richard M. Daley said in 2007 when he announced the formation of IPRA in response to a series of scandals, most memorably a video recording that showed a beefy off-duty cop named Anthony Abbate beating up a petite bartender who had refused to serve him.</p><p>Previously, police-brutality complaints against Chicago cops were handled by the Office of Professional Standards, a unit of the police department itself.</p><p>Daley moved the agency under his direct supervision and gave it subpoena power. He also kept civilians in charge of IPRA to counter what he called &ldquo;the perception&rdquo; that investigations into alleged police misconduct were tainted by cops.</p><p>Seven years later, that perception still dogs the agency. But IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando, a former high-ranking U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, told WBEZ he had no bias that would favor an officer who pulls the trigger.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ando3crop.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 205px; width: 250px;" title="Scott Ando, a former top U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, now heads Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority. His management team includes six former cops. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />&ldquo;What I really have is a sense of pride in 33 years of a professional law-enforcement career,&rdquo; Ando said. &ldquo;Every time someone, no matter where they&rsquo;re from, tarnishes that reputation of law enforcement, it offends me. And I can assure you that everybody that works for me that&rsquo;s [from] law enforcement, and otherwise, takes what we do very seriously.&rdquo;</p><p>Besides Ando, IPRA&rsquo;s leadership includes First Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Mitchell, another former top DEA agent, and Deputy Chief Administrator Steven Hirsch, a former criminal investigation chief of the Illinois Department of Revenue. IPRA investigative supervisors include former Chicago police Cmdr. Lorenzo Davis, former high-ranking DEA agent David Marzullo, and Joshua Hunt, a former homicide detective in Savannah, Georgia.</p><p>Ando said he had hired former cops because of their expertise in everything from management to investigation to police procedures. Plus, he pointed out, those former cops are part of a 90-member staff.</p><p>&ldquo;We also have 11 attorneys,&rdquo; Ando said, including several with a background in criminal defense. &ldquo;When you get to the investigative ranks, the vast majority have come from inspector-general offices, corporate-security firms [and] background investigations.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who tapped Ando to head IPRA last year, did not answer WBEZ when we asked whether the agency&rsquo;s management shift conflicted with its oversight mission. He referred our questions to IPRA, whose spokesman sent a statement praising the agency&rsquo;s &ldquo;balanced workforce&rdquo; and listing recent community outreach efforts, including a new brochure and the creation of a satellite office and an advisory board.</p><p>Ando said he and the other former cops on his staff have helped IPRA increase its rate of sustained police-misconduct complaints.</p><p>One recent IPRA investigation led to Cook County felony charges against a police district commander, Glenn Evans, for allegedly inserting the barrel of his handgun down a 22-year-old&rsquo;s throat last year while pressing a Taser to his crotch and threatening to kill him &mdash; a case revealed by WBEZ. (Ando in April recommended that Supt. Garry McCarthy strip Evans of police powers. But McCarthy, backed by Emanuel, did not remove Evans from the command post until the charges were brought more than four months later.)</p><p>Ando said the former cops on his staff have also been crucial in reducing a case backlog. &ldquo;The average investigator &mdash; not that long ago, maybe 18-24 months ago &mdash; had a caseload of 35 on average,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now they&rsquo;re down to about 15. It gives us time to really work correctly and diligently on the ones that deserve the greatest attention &mdash; the most serious allegations.&rdquo;</p><p>Samuel Walker, a University of Nebraska at Omaha criminologist, says it is common for the independence of police-oversight agencies to erode. He said police unions sometimes convince politicians to curb an agency&rsquo;s powers. Or, as in Chicago, the mayor allows former cops to take the lead.</p><p>&ldquo;They make the argument that somebody with a law-enforcement background is going to better understand policing and be able to do a better job of assessing complaints,&rdquo; Walker said.</p><p>But he thinks this argument only goes so far. &ldquo;Public perception of independence is critically important in terms of the credibility of the agency,&rdquo; Walker said. &ldquo;As you staff it with people with law-enforcement backgrounds, you&rsquo;re going to create distrust.&rdquo;</p><p>That distrust, Walker said, means police brutality may go unreported and unpunished.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194 Aldermen skip chance to ask about city's handling of police commander http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Scott Ando HORIZONTAL.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council on Wednesday heard testimony from the head of the city agency that investigates police-brutality complaints. But the aldermen skipped the&nbsp;chance to ask him about the city&rsquo;s handling of a police commander who faces felony charges in a case that began with one of those complaints.</p><p>The occasion was the annual Independent Police Review Authority budget hearing. IPRA Chief Administrator Scott Ando (see photo) testified about a reduction in a&nbsp;backlog of open investigations and about new community outreach. Ando said the most important new outreach vehicles are IPRA&rsquo;s first two satellite offices, one on the West Side and another coming soon on the South Side.</p><p>The few aldermen who spoke at the hearing congratulated Ando. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re doing more with less,&rdquo; Ald. Matthew O&rsquo;Shea (19th Ward) said.</p><p>More notable was what did not come up. Aldermen asked no questions about IPRA&rsquo;s performance investigating fatal shootings by Chicago officers or about the number of excessive-force complaints the agency has sustained.</p><p>And they did not ask about Glenn Evans, the embattled commander, who allegedly rammed his service pistol down an arrested man&rsquo;s throat last year. In April, a test showed the arrestee&rsquo;s DNA on the gun. The test led Ando to recommend that police Supt. Garry McCarthy strip Evans of his police powers, pending the investigation&rsquo;s outcome. WBEZ revealed the case in July.</p><p>Despite IPRA&#39;s recomendation, McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, continued to publicly support Evans. They left him in command of the Harrison District until the criminal charges August 27.</p><p>Outside the hearing, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said the Emanuel administration&rsquo;s handling of Evans &ldquo;sends a signal to the community that things have not changed since the Burge era,&rdquo; referring to former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, implicated in the torture of dozens of African-American men.</p><p>&ldquo;This behavior appears to be a systemic problem in the police department,&rdquo; Brookins said. &ldquo;The superintendent of police and all of the authorities have to show that this conduct will no longer be tolerated. And until there are outward expressions and actions to back that up, it is going to be hard to get away from that impression of the community just by opening a few satellite offices.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/aldermen-skip-chance-ask-about-citys-handling-police-commander-111016 Prosecutors want more of indicted police commander's 'bad acts' in court http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-want-more-indicted-police-commanders-bad-acts-court-110987 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/glen_evans8 SQUARE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><br />Cook County prosecutors on Thursday told a judge they would try to bring other &ldquo;crimes and bad acts&rdquo; into a felony case against a Chicago police commander.</p><p>Glenn Evans, photographed on his way out of the hearing by Charlie Billups for WBEZ, allegedly jammed his gun into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth last year, pressed a taser to his crotch and threatened his life. Last month Evans pleaded not guilty to nine counts of aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>During his 28 years in the police department, Evans has drawn at least 52 brutality complaints. Two led to 15-day suspensions from duty. Six others have led to federal lawsuits that the city paid to settle.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura Morask, calls that history irrelevant. She says what matters are the allegations in the case&rsquo;s indictment, which focuses on the incident last year.</p><p>The commander, meanwhile, is trying to find out how a DNA report in the case went public. Morask is demanding records from WBEZ and the Independent Police Review Authority, one of several government entities that had the report. At the hearing, Morask said the records would show bias on the part of the case&rsquo;s investigators.</p><p>The judge, Rosemary Grant Higgins, pushed back. She said she would hear more from all sides but warned, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not this court&rsquo;s job to plug leaks or interfere with the press.&rdquo;</p><p>From our West Side bureau, WBEZ&#39;s Chip Mitchell joined the&nbsp;&ldquo;Afternoon Shift&rdquo;&nbsp;with this update (click the photo above). For background, see all <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans">our coverage about the Evans case</a>.</p></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-want-more-indicted-police-commanders-bad-acts-court-110987 Indicted police commander suspended from duty 11 times, records show http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Evans 1tightcrop_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on September 18 at 5:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Cook County prosecutors on Thursday unveiled an indictment of a Chicago police commander who allegedly rammed his pistol into an arrested man&rsquo;s mouth. A grand jury has charged Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans did not speak during the hearing, which took place at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building and lasted about 10 minutes.</p><p>On the way out of the courthouse, about two dozen supporters tightly surrounded him to shield him from news reporters and cameras. Those supporters, including Chicago police officers, stuck with him all the way to a waiting SUV that carried him away.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans will plead &ldquo;not guilty,&rdquo; according to his attorney, Laura J. Morask. &ldquo;Cmdr. Evans will not only be exonerated but vindicated,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It was a rush to judgment and I think you&rsquo;ll see that.&rdquo;</p><p>City records, meanwhile, show that Evans has been suspended from duty at least 11 times during his 28 years in the police department. Most of the suspensions took place during the first decade of his career, when he worked as a South Side patrol officer, according to the records, obtained by WBEZ through Freedom of Information Act requests.</p><p dir="ltr">The alleged infractions ranged from a missed court appearance to an off-duty &ldquo;domestic altercation.&rdquo; The two longest suspensions, both 15 days, stemmed from excessive-force accusations.</p><p>One of those cases began in 1990, when Evans was assigned to the Gresham police district. A South Side mother allegedly ran afoul of Jackson Park Hospital personnel when she tried to visit her daughter, who was getting treated there after a sexual assault, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans helped remove the mother from the hospital. Outside the facility, he allegedly slammed her against police vehicles and delivered punches that left her with a black eye and other injuries.</p><p>Evans later characterized the mother as intoxicated and uncooperative and denied the allegations, according to the records.</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" style="text-align: center; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13.63636302948px; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;" target="_blank"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p dir="ltr">The other case began in 1994, when Evans suspected a South Side man stole property from the officer&rsquo;s car trunk. Evans, who was off duty, allegedly handcuffed the man, by an ankle and wrist, to a porch rail and beat him with his handgun.</p><p dir="ltr">The encounter left the man with a three-inch head gash and a cerebral concussion, according to the records. Evans denied using excessive force and claimed the man was resisting arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">Those disciplinary actions are among dozens of excessive-force complaints against Evans that city agencies have fielded since he joined the department in 1986. A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/report-embattled-commander-no-1-excessive-force-complaints-110605">tallied 45 filed through 2008</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2009, according to the records obtained through the FOIA requests, the city has received at least seven more excessive-force complaints against Evans, lifting the total to at least 52. City investigations have concluded that nearly all were &ldquo;not sustained&rdquo; or &ldquo;unfounded.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But six federal lawsuits alleging Evans brutality have led to five-figure city settlements. Those payments and related expenses total $282,467, according to a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786">WBEZ review of court filings and city records</a>. Each settlement specifies that the defendants deny wrongdoing.</p><p>Morask, Evans&rsquo; attorney, called the complaints and settlements irrelevant to the criminal proceeding. &ldquo;The only thing that&rsquo;s relevant is what&rsquo;s in this indictment,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>&ldquo;Nobody likes to be arrested,&rdquo; Morask said, referring to the people who have accused Evans of using excessive force. &ldquo;Complaints are just that. They are just complaints.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">At least three other police-brutality lawsuits naming Evans as a defendant are pending. In two, the defendants deny the allegations, according to city filings.</p><p dir="ltr">The third pending lawsuit was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776">brought last week by Rickey J. Williams</a>, a South Side man whose allegations led to the criminal charges, both felonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Evans allegedly put the barrel of his service weapon into Williams&rsquo; mouth on January 30, 2013. Evans also allegedly pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p dir="ltr">DNA evidence prompted the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority to&nbsp;recommend in April that Evans be relieved of his police powers. WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cpd-leaves-commander-post-despite-assault-allegation-dna-match-110581">revealed the Williams case in July</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But police Supt. Garry McCarthy, backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left Evans in command of the Harrison police district until August 27, when the criminal charges were announced.</p><p>After Thursday&#39;s hearing, Morask criticized both IPRA and Alvarez&rsquo;s office. She said neither has tried to interview Evans about Williams&rsquo; accusation.</p><p>&ldquo;In my experience,&rdquo; said Morask, who worked for years in the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, &ldquo;something you always do before a case is charged is you ask the suspect their side of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 00:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indicted-police-commander-suspended-duty-11-times-records-show-110810 Ousted commander leaves trail of costly lawsuits http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 <p><p>Police brutality lawsuits against a Chicago district commander who allegedly put his pistol into a suspect&rsquo;s mouth have cost taxpayers more than a quarter million dollars, a WBEZ review of court records and city settlements has found.</p><p>That amount appears certain to increase as the city faces three more lawsuits, including one filed this week, that allege excessive force by the commander, Glenn Evans, 52. The plaintiffs&rsquo; cases could benefit from a criminal prosecution of Evans, who was charged last month with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans 1tightcrop_0.jpg" style="float: right; width: 260px; height: 187px;" title="Evans faces felony charges in a criminal case that could benefit plaintiffs in three pending civil lawsuits against him. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>To date, the city has paid out five-figure settlements in at least six lawsuits claiming Evans brutality, according to the records. The first two, totaling $25,000, came in 2002 and 2004.</p><p>Those settlements did not appear to tarnish Evans&rsquo; reputation among cops. Philip J. Cline, a police superintendent in Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s administration, promoted Evans to lieutenant in 2006 and assigned him to Gresham, a South Side district.</p><p>Within four years, the city had settled three more excessive-force lawsuits against Evans, lifting the payout total to $153,999.</p><p>In 2012, Supt. Garry McCarthy promoted Evans to be one of the city&rsquo;s 22 district commanders and assigned him to Grand Crossing, another South Side district.</p><p>Shootings dropped in Grand Crossing last year. McCarthy credited Evans. Some residents also praised the commander&rsquo;s work ethic and attentiveness.</p><p>This March, McCarthy transferred Evans to Harrison, the police district with the most homicides.</p><p>&ldquo;I got fires on the West Side,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a Police Board meeting that month, referring to the violence.</p><p>&ldquo;I got to get my best guy,&rdquo; McCarthy said, calling Evans &ldquo;probably the most aggressive district commander in the Chicago Police Department . . . probably my favorite among my favorites.&rdquo;</p><p>McCarthy described the transfer as a career advancement based on Evans&rsquo; &ldquo;wonderful work.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage<br />of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>By this point, the city had settled a sixth suit alleging Evans&#39; brutality, raising the payout total to $224,999.</p><p>In addition to the settlements, the city had incurred other expenses in these cases. Chicago Law Department records show outlays of at least $57,468 for experts, court reporting, medical-record copies and outside counsel.</p><p>Adding in those expenses, the price tag for lawsuits accusing Evans of excessive force is $282,467.</p><p>The settlements, considered individually, do not show culpability. All specify that their aim is to avoid the expense of further litigation. All specify that the defendants deny wrongdoing and liability.</p><p>But some civil-rights attorneys see a pattern and put much of the blame on superintendents who have promoted Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;McCarthy needs to be held accountable for the way he trains and disciplines his officers, particularly people he puts in positions of high authority,&rdquo; said Patrick Morrissey, a lawyer who filed one of the three unresolved brutality suits against Evans.</p><p>Neither McCarthy nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel answered WBEZ questions this week about Evans&rsquo; promotion to commander.</p><p><strong>Pending lawsuits</strong></p><p>Morrissey&rsquo;s client, Rita King, was arrested after a 2011 domestic conflict. Officers brought her to the Gresham station, where Evans was still based. In her first public comments about the incident, King this week told WBEZ she refused to be fingerprinted because officers had not informed her what charges she faced.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rita%20King%20mug%20facing%20camera%20CROP.jpg" style="float: left; width: 230px; height: 189px;" title="Minutes before officers took this booking photo, Rita King says, Evans broke bones in her face and threatened to ‘push my nose through my brain.’ King has filed one of the three unresolved civil lawsuits alleging excessive force by him. (Chicago Police Department)" /></div><p>&ldquo;So the officer got upset with me,&rdquo; King recalled. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to go get somebody to get your fingerprints.&rsquo; &rdquo;<br /><br />King said the officer brought in Evans, a lieutenant at the time, who &ldquo;grabbed me by the nose.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He was using force against my face with his hand,&rdquo; King said. &ldquo;He kept saying, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to push your nose through your brain.&rsquo; &rdquo;</p><p>A court filing by the city said Evans used &ldquo;a reasonable degree of force in order to control King.&rdquo;</p><p>Two days after the incident, a physician at Roseland Community Hospital examined King and found multiple facial bone fractures, according to a hospital record.<br /><br />Another pending lawsuit against Evans stems from a 2012 police clash with protesters as Chicago hosted a NATO summit. Photojournalist Joshua Lott, the plaintiff, claims Evans and other officers threw him to the ground, stomped on him, hit him with batons or other instruments, and beat him. The suit says Lott identified himself as a member of the press &ldquo;but the beating continued unabated.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans and the other defendants deny those allegations, according to a court filing by the city.&nbsp;</p><p>The third pending lawsuit against Evans was brought Tuesday by Rickey Williams, a South Side man whose accusations led to the criminal charges against the commander. Evans allegedly put the barrel of his police pistol into Williams&rsquo; mouth last year, pressed a Taser into his crotch and threatened to kill him.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; suit cites a lab test that showed his DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p>McCarthy, backed by Mayor Emanuel, did not follow that recommendation. McCarthy and Emanuel lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime. The commander remained in his post until August 27, when Cook County prosecutors filed the charges, both felonies.</p><p>&ldquo;Until Cmdr. Evans was arrested and charged there had been no finding in the investigation,&rdquo; a written statement from McCarthy said this week. &ldquo;As soon as we were made aware of the charges, Cmdr. Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department,&rdquo; McCarthy&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura Morask, called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and called the commander&rsquo;s actions lawful. She has not returned WBEZ messages seeking comment about the pending civil claims against Evans, who could not be reached for comment.</p><p><strong>Other complaints</strong></p><p>Most brutality complaints against Evans have not ended up in court. City agencies have fielded dozens of them since he joined the police department in 1986.</p><p>A report by former chief Chicago epidemiologist Dr. Steven Whitman says 45 brutality complaints were lodged against Evans during January 1988&ndash;May 2000 and May 2002&ndash;December 2008.</p><p>Authorities responsible for investigating those complaints found that two warranted disciplinary action, according to the Whitman report, prepared for a lawsuit against a different officer.</p><p>In requests under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, WBEZ asked for complaint summaries from Evans&rsquo; entire 28 years with the department.</p><p>Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s administration has not provided those records.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/166113811&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for advancing Evans&rsquo; career despite all the excessive-force lawsuits and complaints over the years.</p><p>Emanuel responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo; The mayor then changed the subject to the criminal probe of Evans.</p><p>&ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p>Evans, assigned to desk duty since the criminal charges were filed, earns an annual salary of $154,932.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ousted-commander-leaves-trail-costly-lawsuits-110786 Lawsuit: Police commander's alleged battery amounted to 'torture' http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Williams presser 3 colors CROP scaled.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A man whose brutality complaint led to felony charges against a Chicago police commander took his allegations to federal court Tuesday. Rickey J. Williams, 24, filed a lawsuit that accuses Glenn Evans of &ldquo;torture&rdquo; and says Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration condoned it.</p><p>The alleged abuse took place after Evans chased Williams into an abandoned South Side building on January 30, 2013. Evans, according to the suit,&nbsp;put a taser to Williams&rsquo;&nbsp;crotch, threatened his life, and inserted his police pistol where it did not belong.</p><p>&ldquo;They took the gun and put it down my throat,&rdquo; Williams says in a video provided by his legal team. &ldquo;They should get punished.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams attended a Tuesday news conference to announce his suit but did not speak.</p><p>The suit cites a lab test that showed Williams&rsquo; DNA on Evans&rsquo; gun. WBEZ revealed that test and an April recommendation by the city&rsquo;s Independent Police Review Authority that the commander be relieved of police powers.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/glenn-evans" target="_blank"><strong>Read all our coverage of Cmdr. Glenn Evans</strong></a></p><p>Emanuel, who was briefed on the recommendation, and police Supt. Garry McCarthy&nbsp;lauded Evans&rsquo; efforts against crime and left the commander in his post until the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office charged him on August 27 with aggravated battery and official misconduct.</p><p>Evans&rsquo; attorney, Laura J. Morask, did not respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit. After the charges were filed, she called the criminal investigation &ldquo;incredibly flawed&rdquo; and said Evans&rsquo; actions were just and lawful.</p><p>Williams&rsquo; attorney, Antonio Romanucci, disputed a claim in a police report that the chase began after Evans&rsquo; spotted Williams holding a gun. Williams was simply standing at a bus stop, &ldquo;not doing anything,&rdquo; Romanucci said.</p><p>Inside the building, according to the lawsuit, Williams did not threaten harm to the commander or anyone else.</p><p>Police reports from the incident did not state that Williams resisted arrest, Cook County prosecutors said after charging Evans.</p><p>The commander &ldquo;battered&rdquo; Williams and threw him to the floor, the lawsuit says.</p><p>&ldquo;More than five&rdquo; officers were present during the alleged abuse, Romanucci said. &ldquo;A couple were holding [Williams] down.&rdquo;</p><p>The suit claims that the city has a &ldquo;widespread practice of failing to discipline&rdquo; officers for excessive force. That practice amounts to a &ldquo;de facto policy,&rdquo; according to the&nbsp;suit, and encourages cops to &ldquo;engage in misconduct with impunity and without fear of official consequences.&rdquo; The misconduct includes &ldquo;coercive interrogation techniques and torture on suspects.&rdquo;</p><p>The lawsuit does not specify an amount of monetary damages sought. Romanucci said the suit&rsquo;s&nbsp;aims extend beyond money and include changing city policies.</p><p>&ldquo;When you have a commander setting the example for [the] rank and file &mdash; that it&rsquo;s OK to do this in order to coerce confessions &mdash; and then, when IPRA recommends discipline, and no discipline is taken, it sends the clearest message across the board to the city of Chicago police officers that [brutality] is OK,&rdquo;&nbsp;Romanucci said.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/166113811&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Emanuel, in a written statement about the lawsuit, said Evans&rsquo; alleged actions, if they occurred, are &ldquo;deeply disturbing&rdquo; and &ldquo;have no place in our city and are not reflective of the actions and values of the men and women who serve in the Chicago Police Department.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Our policing philosophy is rooted in community policing and fostering stronger relationships with residents and communities, because we all have a role to play in the safety of our city,&rdquo; Emanuel&rsquo;s statement added.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s role includes hiring, firing and supervising the city&rsquo;s&nbsp;police superintendent.</p><p>A statement from McCarthy about the lawsuit said &ldquo;personnel decisions for exempt-rank officers in the department are mine, and mine alone, whether it&rsquo;s a commander, a deputy chief or a chief.&rdquo;</p><p>At a news conference last week, WBEZ asked Emanuel how he planned to hold McCarthy accountable for promoting Evans to commander and later transferring him to the police district with the city&rsquo;s most homicides&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;despite dozens of excessive-force complaints against him over the years. The mayor responded that the public should &ldquo;hold all of us accountable.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel then changed the subject to this year&rsquo;s criminal probe of Evans. &ldquo;There were questions that had not been investigated,&rdquo; the mayor said. &ldquo;Once that conclusion was made and the investigation was concluded, actions were taken.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-police-commanders-alleged-battery-amounted-torture-110776