CHICAGO – A decorated Chicago police commander who rose through the ranks even as he was the subject of numerous misconduct allegations appeared in court Thursday, facing felony charges that he stuck his gun down the throat of a suspect and threatened to kill him.
Shortly after his arrest, Glenn Evans, 52, was formally charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct and later released on his own recognizance. Earlier this week, Evans was stripped of his police powers and relieved of his service weapon.
Evans, a valued member of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's top management team as district commander of one Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, did not speak at Thursday's hearing and neither he nor his attorneys talked to reporters after the hearing. But his attorney, Laura Morask vehemently denied the allegations, calling the investigation "incredibly flawed."
"There is absolutely no basis for these charges," she told the judge.
It's another blow to a department long dogged by a reputation for brutality. 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 he was not disciplined in any of the incidents.
During the hearing, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Lauren Freeman detailed the January 2013 incident involving a foot chase of a 22-year-old man whom Evans maintained was carrying a gun. She said that Evans found the man hiding in a closet of an abandoned house, and then tackled him and "stuck his Smith and Wesson, .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol deep down the victim's throat," put a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him if the man did not tell him where his gun was.
No gun was ever found and the charges were later dropped when police failed to show up at a hearing, Freeman said. But, she said, after the man filed a complaint, a swab was taken from Evans' gun and the state police lab determined DNA from the 22-year-old man was on the weapon.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which examines allegations of misconduct by Chicago officers, recommended Evans be relieved of his police powers and referred the case to county prosecutors.
McCarthy, who promoted Evans in 2012 and has praised him, vigorously defended him at a news conference Monday. Two days later, McCarthy issued a release saying that if the alleged actions are true they are "unacceptable."
Evans has "a notorious reputation in the civil rights community for his brutality," said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has extensively studied the department.
Attorney Flint Taylor has long complained that the department has failed to address police brutality. He said Evans offers an example of what he sees as a department that ignores brutal behavior if it results in arrests.
As Evans climbed the ranks, he had 45 misconduct complaints against him, according to a study between 1998 and 2010, Evans said.
"Of all the officers, he ranked first," he said.