Sometimes, it seems like the Chicago Police Department has to deal with an excessive amount of negative attention and criticism. After all, one would assume that most individuals who join the police force do so because they want to help make their community safe. But again, another bit of publicity is hard to ignore: veteran Chicago police commander Glen Evans is facing felony charges and a federal lawsuit after being accused of using excessive force with an unarmed citizen, purportedly sticking his gun down the individual's throat while holding a stun gun to his groin.
The man who made the accusations against Evans—24 year old Rickey J. Williams—claimed not only to have been "tortured" by the commander, but also that the CPD Administration condoned the behavior. This suggestion likely comes in part from the fact that the incident with Evans occurred on January 30, 2013 but the officer was not charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct until August 27 of this year. Part of this delay was caused by necessary testing to determine that Williams' DNA matched that found on Evans' pistol. However, those test results came back positive in April; so why wasn't Evans removed from duty, or at least suspended, immediately? As NPR reports, when the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) returned the DNA test in April, they recommended to the CPD that Evans be relieved of police authority. That did not happen until last week.
It is hard to say what exactly went on during the isolated incident that is being called into question here, as only Williams' side of the story has been reported. However, if Evans is in fact guilty, the most disturbing thought is the possibility that similar situations are going on unreported. Williams' lawsuit claims that Chicago has a "widespread practice of failing to discipline" its officers for the inappropriate use of force. If a city is going to stand behind its law enforcement, citizens must know that their police force is providing them more harm than good. Mayor Emanuel said in a recent statement about the lawsuit that if the accusations against Evans are true, he would find them "deeply disturbing," adding that such actions "have no place in our city and are not reflective of the actions and values of the men and women who serve in the Chicago Police Department". Unfortunately, of course, every member of the CPD (especially a highly ranked and respected commander) is in some way a reflection on the Department as a whole; but for the sake of the city, we can hope that Evans is one exception to a much more honorable rule.