A Chicago police commander on patrol in a South Side neighborhood last year chased a man he thought was holding a handgun into an abandoned building, then shoved the barrel of his service gun “deep down” the man’s throat, held a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him if he didn’t say where the gun was, prosecutors said today.
Cmdr. Glenn Evans, 52, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct after DNA taken from the barrel of his Smith and Wesson .45 caliber handgun conclusively matched the man’s DNA, prosecutors said.
Judge Laura Sullivan declined to order Evans to surrender his firearms as prosecutors had sought. She ordered him released on his own recognizance without requiring him to post any cash or property. Evans is now working desk duty at police headquarters.
Sheriff’s deputies allowed Evans to exit the courthouse through the old front entrance to the building, bypassing a waiting throng of cameramen and reporters by the usual exit.
Evans faces anything from probation to five years in prison if convicted.
“It is an extremely sad and difficult situation for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted,” State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a statement. “We certainly recognize that our police officers have difficult jobs and that they work under challenging and often life threatening circumstances, but every law enforcement officer holds his or her powers through the public trust and this type of conduct violates that trust.”
Laura Morask, Evans’ attorney, told the judge that Evans would vigorously contest the charges, saying no one from the state’s attorney’s office, the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division or the Independent Police Review Authority had ever asked Evans for his account of what happened that afternoon.
She said the DNA evidence gathered by prosecutors was “far from being a smoking gun.”
“Those results will confirm and corroborate what my client says happened,” she said.
Morask called the IPRA investigation “incredibly flawed" and characterized Evans’ actions as "just” and “lawful.”
More than a dozen police officers stood in the courtroom as Evans’ case was heard in bond court.
At an afternoon news conference, Alvarez emphasized the difficult decision involved in charging a popular police commander.
"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," she told reporters at her downtown offices. "Sometimes good people do bad things."
Evans was on patrol Jan 30, 2013, at about 4:45 p.m. in the 500 block of East 71st Street after a child had been shot in the neighborhood the previous day, according to prosecutors and Morask.
After spotting what he said was a man standing near a bus stop with a gun in his right hand, Evans got out of his unmarked squad car, announced he was a police officer and approached the man, said Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Freeman.
The 22-year-old man ran away, eventually entering an abandoned building in 7100 block of South Eberhart Avenue and hid in a closet with no door, Freeman said. Evans tackled the man and stuck the barrel of his service weapon “deep down the victim’s throat,” she said.
"He then pulled out a Taser and held it to the man’s groin," she told the judge.
As he held both weapons, he threatened to kill the victim, announcing, “M-----------, tell me where the guns are.”
Despite a “systematic search” of the house and surrounding area, no gun was ever recovered, Freeman said. The man, who had “severe soreness to his throat for several days” was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct, she said.
The alleged victim filed a complaint with IPRA the day after the incident. Chicago police personnel swabbed Evans’ gun for DNA the following month.
Testing by the Illinois State police’s crime lab last April found that the DNA conclusively matched the victim’s profile, Freeman said.
Evans is due back in court on Sept. 18.
Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas contributed.