COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Chicago police commander was charged in Thursday with putting a gun in a suspect's mouth and threatening to kill him, but received special treatment in evading media after the court appearance.
Cmdr. Glenn Evans put a gun into a man's mouth, put a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him, prosecutors said Thursday.
Evans, who heads the West Side's Harrison District, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for the incident, prosecutors said.
Yet Evans left court Thursday through a secret door, a cordoned-off exit, to avoid the camera crews awaiting his release from jail. The ceremonial exit, located just north of the official front steps of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, is off limits. If someone attempts to enter or leave via the old ceremonial doors, an alarm typically sounds.
According to a Cook County Sheriff's Police official, Evans was expected to leave the courthouse in the manner of anyone else, but a sheriff's deputy decided to give him a break and let him leave quietly.
"He was supposed to go out the main doors like everybody else," said Sophia Ansari, spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff's Police. "An employee went against that order, and that employee will be reprimanded."
Prosecutors said Evans was on patrol in January 2013 after a recent shooting in the area when he saw a man with a gun in a bus stop in the 500 block of East 71st Street. At the time, Evans headed up the Grand Crossing District on the South Side.
The man ran into an abandoned building and hid in a closet, and when Evans found him he tackled him, put his gun in the man's mouth and stuck a Taser to his groin, prosecutors said.
"As the defendant held both weapons, he threatened to kill the victim and said, 'M-----------, tell me where the guns are,"' Assistant State's Attorney Lauran Freeman said.
No guns were recovered, and the man was charged with reckless conduct for allegedly having a gun. However, the charge was later dropped, prosecutors said.
The man complained about the incident to the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates reports of police misconduct. A subsequent investigation found the man's DNA on Evans' gun, prosecutors said.
In a news conference Thursday outside the Dunne Building Downtown, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said, "I have confidence in the charges that we bring that they're warranted." Without going into additional details on the case, she laid out a timeline in which Evans' gun was swabbed for DNA Feb. 1, 2013, that was sent to the State Police crime lab in May 2013, and results were delivered this April.
"We were given this case by IPRA at the end of April," Alvarez added.
The police board later recommended Evans be stripped of his police powers, according to a July report by WBEZ.
"I know that he's been with the department quite a long time and has served as a police officer in many ways effectively," Alvarez said. "That's why this case is sad, because you have someone who has the complete trust of the department and the complete trust of the citizens of Chicago and oversteps that line. Sometimes good people do bad things, and it's unfortunate."
Evans' attorney, Laura Morask, though, called the police board's case "incredibly flawed."
Detailing his rise through the ranks at CPD and his reputation for fighting crime in some of Chicago's most violent police districts, she argued that Evans would ultimately be vindicated of the charges.
About 15 plainclothes police officers were present in the courtroom Thursday to support Evans. And in the past, he had enjoyed support from some community members and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.
He was ordered released on his own recognizance during a brief court hearing Thursday afternoon.
At an unrelated news conference on Monday, McCarthy brushed off a reporter who asked if McCarthy still supported Evans after the police board's recommendation.
After news of the charges, McCarthy later said in a statement the department would cooperate fully with prosecutors on the case.
"The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to both the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department.
"As soon as we were made aware of the charges, Cmdr. Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter," McCarthy said in the statement. "Like any private citizen, the commander is innocent until proven guilty, and we need to allow this case to proceed like any other."
On Wednesday evening, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) released a statement concerning the charges.
"While I await the findings of the indictment of Cmdr. Evans, the greater concern I hold is for the residents of the 28th Ward and the West Side of Chicago," Ervin stated.
"There are still serious issues facing our communities which will need to be addressed in his absence. Supt. McCarthy has the responsibility of appointing another commander to the 11th District. I am apprehensive about McCarthy's selection process because of the experiences we are currently witnessing."
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