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Officers Keep a Close Eye on Commander's Trial

The trial of a Chicago police commander is set to begin Tuesday. Cmdr. Glenn Evans faces nine felony counts. Prosecutors say he put his gun in the mouth of a suspect and threatened to kill him — allegations revealed by WBEZ last year.

The incident took place January 30, 2013, on the city’s South Side. Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed a decision to leave Evans in charge of a West Side district despite a recommendation by the Independent Police Review Authority to strip the commander of police powers. Evans remained in command until prosecutors brought the charges on August 28, 2014.

The trial follows a public outcry over the video of Laquan McDonald’s killing by a Chicago officer. It follows the ouster of police Supt. Garry McCarthy, detectives chief Constantine “Dean” Andrews, and IPRA chief Scott Ando. It follows the release of a video showing another officer fatally shooting Ronald Johnson III and a decision by Cook County prosecutors not to bring charges against the cop. And it follows an announcement that the U.S. Department of Justice will begin investigating Chicago officers’ use of force and their accountability.

Long before that probe is complete, the Evans case reveals a hard-charging style that could be on its way out. Current and former Chicago officers of all ranks will be watching his trial closely. To hear a sample of their views, listen to our story (above). To read all our coverage about Evans, click here.

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.

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