Monday, December 14, 2015

Cmdr Glenn Evans & The "Fleeting Relevance" of Systematic Abuse By the Chicago PD

Rickey Williams (left) & Commander Glenn Evans (right)
The myriad complexities related to holding members of law enforcement accountable for excessive violence were made clear by the acquittal of Chicago Police Department Commander Glenn Evans earlier today on two counts of battery and seven counts of official misconduct.

As many of you reading this have probably heard, Commander Evans was facing charges related to his having allegedly stuck the barrel of his loaded handgun down the throat of suspect Rickey Williams in an abandoned building after a foot pursuit back in 2013.

Despite the fact that lab results found traces of Williams' DNA on Evans' handgun, Cook County judge Diane Cannon (a former long-time prosecutor...) decided that Williams' credibility called into question his testimony.

As reporter Steven Schmadeke noted in The Chicago Tribune earlier today, Judge Cannon also dismissed the presence of Williams' DNA on Evans' gun as being "of fleeting relevance or significance."

Interestingly she, the prosecutor and the defense all dismissed (and lambasted) the initial investigation of the misconduct charges by the Independent Police Review Authority. 

It's understandable that the story was a national headline throughout the day in light of recent 1st degree murder charges filed against Chicago PD officer Jason Van Dyke for his execution of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald.  

Judge Diane Cannon
Now I wasn't at the court hearing today, and I'm not an expert on Chicago policing.

But from what I read of Judge Cannon's comments to the court prior to acquitting Commander Evans, my sense is that she seemed to come off as less a judge evaluating evidence with an objective eye.

Rather, she seemed more like a former prosecutor with deep ties to the Chicago PD who was dead-set on making sure that a long-time, high-ranking CPD officer would face no legal repercussions for the kind of physical abuse of a suspect that a seven-year-old could tell you falls outside the boundaries of police conduct and procedure.

Now I could be wrong.

Maybe there's a chapter in the CPD code of conduct that outlines jamming the barrel of a loaded service weapon down a suspect's throat as an approved technique, but I'm doubting they teach that at the academy.

Now in all fairness to Commander Evans, it's not fair to judge his actions without knowing what it's like to deal with law enforcement in the neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago, and Rickey Williams was no angel, but he wasn't a murder suspect or anything.

As Schmadeke reported in his Tribune article, "Williams alleged that Evans chased him into an abandoned South Side house, shoved the gun down his throat, pressed a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him in January 2013."

Was shoving a gun down someone's throat really necessary to"serve and protect"?

In making the decision to acquit today, I have to wonder if Judge Cannon considered Evans' past record and conduct as a CPD office to be of "fleeting relevance".

If Evans' acquittal strikes you as odd, then I suggest you take a few minutes to check out an article by Angela Caputo entitled "Abusing the Badge" which details two of the numerous cases of police misconduct leveled against Evans during his career with the Chicago PD. 

Rennie Simmons - victim of Glenn Evans' abuse
Published back in May of 2012 on, Caputo's article shows that Commander Glenn Evans is no stranger to media publicity over the use of excessive violence, or to physically abusing citizens in custody in ways that call his professional judgment into question.

Like his filing false battery charges against Rennie Simmons (pictured left) a water department employee who is paralyzed on his right side who went to Evans Chicago home to post a water shutoff notice and ended up being physically attacked by Evans, thrown in the back of a squad car and arrested on concocted charges.

Simmons later filed a federal suit against Evans and was awarded $99,999 by the city of Chicago.

Or worse, there's the disturbing case of Cordell Simmons (no relation to Rennie), a community college student with a history of marijuana arrests who was picked up with $20 worth of weed on him and taken to a police station.

The two cops who picked him up suspected he was concealing more weed on him, so they removed his pants and then-lieutenant Evans came into the room with a Taser and proceeded to use it on Simmons' scrotum, anus and on his arm in an effort to find out if he was holding more weed.

Don't take my word for it. Check out this 2014 article by Randa Morris that details other truly disturbing incidents of excessive physical force by Commander Glenn Evans - you have to read them for yourself to understand what kind of police officer this guy is.

If you read about the multiple cases of physical abuse he's committed, Judge Diane Cannon's decision to acquit him today actually makes sense in a way.

It's actually the same twisted logic that led Mayor Rahm Emanuele's office, the Chicago PD and the prosecutor's office to wait 13 months to file charges against officer Jason Van Dyke for shooting a 16-year-old sixteen times - they were trying to avoid sticking the taxpayers of Chicago with yet another payout in court to cover up another blatant use of excessive force by members of the Chicago PD.

Judge Cannon knew all about Glenn Evans' lengthy and violent record of abusing suspects in custody, that's why she acquitted him - according to an investigation by WBEZ editor Derek John, there have been some 45 separate complaints of abuse filed against Evans and he's been named as the defendant in 10 separate trials.

Holding him accountable would've meant yet another payout of thousands of dollars by the city of Chicago and with Jason Van Dyke facing murder charges and the Department of Justice gearing up a federal investigation of the police department - in Judge Cannon's eyes the city of Chicago simply couldn't afford the justice due Rickey Williams.

Why else would a judge dismiss the presence of Williams DNA on the gun that he alleged Glenn Evans shoved down his throat to be of "fleeting relevance"?
The city of Chicago couldn't afford another guilty abusive cop and it seems like the only thing of "fleeting relevance" in this case were Rickey Williams' Constitutional rights. 

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