A police commander frequently praised for his no-nonsense approach to fighting crime in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods was charged Wednesday with placing the barrel of his gun into a suspect's mouth.
Cmdr. Glenn Evans was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Atty. Anita Alvarez.
Evans, who is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, could not be reached for comment. He has been relieved of his police powers.
Cook County prosecutors had been investigating the allegation that Evans placed the barrel of his service weapon into a 24-year-old man's mouth while arresting him.
DNA from the man was found on the barrel of Evans' gun, according to a police lab report.
The allegations of misconduct against Evans were first reported by WBEZ radio.
The allegations stem from an arrest Evans and two of his officers made on Jan. 30, 2013, while on patrol. At the time, Evans was the commander of the South Side's Grand Crossing patrol district.
They saw Rickey J. Williams holding a handgun in his right hand, according to a police report. Evans approached Williams, who ran away.
After briefly losing sight of him, police arrested Williams in an abandoned home, the report states. No gun was found on Williams, but he was arrested and charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.
The case was dropped a few months later.
Williams is being held on other charges at the Pontiac Correctional Center.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which looks into allegations of excessive force and other misconduct by Chicago police officers, investigated the complaint and recommended that Evans be relieved of his police powers until the case was resolved. The agency also forwarded its findings to Cook County prosecutors for possible criminal charges.
Evans is among 662 officers with 11 or more complaints during a five-year period in the 2000s, newly released police records show. He had 14 complaints between 2001 and 2006 and faced no discipline for any of them, the records show.
He has also been named as a defendant in a number of police misconduct lawsuits.
Among his peers, Evans has a reputation as an aggressive boss who works around the clock and often with regular officers on the streets in some of Chicago's worst neighborhoods. He has been publicly praised by Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who promoted Evans to the rank of commander in 2012 and defended him as recently as Monday.
After the charges were announced, McCarthy released a statement:
"The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to ... the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department. As soon as we were made aware of the charges, Commander Evans was relieved of his police powers, pending the outcome of this matter. Like any private citizen, the commander is innocent until proven guilty and we need to allow this case to proceed like any other. We will cooperate fully with prosecutors."
During an unrelated news conference Monday, McCarthy gave a stern response to a reporter when asked whether he supported Evans despite the independent authority's recommendation that he be relieved of his police powers.
"I'm not going to answer that question. That's absurd. Do I support him? If I didn't support him, he wouldn't be there," McCarthy said.
McCarthy continued to defend Evans, saying the commander was working through two high-profile incidents in his district: the accidental shooting of a 3-year-old boy, and the shooting of an armed teenager by police that sparked protests.
"I'm sorry, do you know that Cmdr. Evans was working from 9 o'clock Friday morning until about midnight Saturday...? You don't," McCarthy said. "And you also don't know that Cmdr. Evans was on the scene of the police-related shooting last night on Sunday evening to ensure that there was not a problem on the streets. So you really should have some context when you ask questions like that."