The Case of a "Model" Cop in Chicago: Promoted for Years of Brutality

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

You can tell a lot about what the real role of police is in the system we live under from the kind of cops that are promoted as "models." Let me tell you about one in Chicago. And he's Black.

Rickey Williams

Former Chicago police commander, Glenn Evans, was indicted by a grand jury on felony charges in August of this year for shoving his gun down the throat of a 22- year-old Black male, Rickey Williams, above, while holding a Taser to his groin and threatening to kill him. Evans is currently on paid administrative duty.

One of the 22 police district commanders in Chicago, Glenn Evans was indicted in late August on felonies for shoving his gun down Rickey Williams' throat while holding a Taser to his groin and theatening to kill him last year. Williams, a 22-year-old Black man, survived and was brave enough to file a brutality complaint. After this complaint was filed, Evans was promoted to commander of another district. And as late as five days before he was indicted and arrested (when the incident was long known by the police and city administrators), police superintendent Garry McCarthy lauded Evans on camera for his "aggressiveness, work ethic and dedication to the job."

It is very rare for any cop to be indicted for anything, so you might think this is a case of justice finally being done. But the reasons why Evans was indicted seem to have everything to do with 1) people in Ferguson standing up for justice after Michael Brown's murder and the authorities' fear of "another Ferguson" happening in Chicago; 2) Evans's decades-long suppressed history of extreme brutality, along with that of hundreds of other cops, coming to light in the midst of the nationwide outrage against the wanton murder and brutalization of generations of young Black men, like Mike Brown, by the police.

The Chicago Tribune won a long court battle, forcing the city to make public the internal police records of complaints of brutality. Before that, the city had refused to reveal whether or not any disciplinary action was taken unless the cop was found at fault, which is practically never—so evidence of the constant brutality and even murder was officially covered up for decades.

The Tribune investigation into the records showed that Evans had been leading and modelling this kind of brutal example for years and was continually rewarded for it. Fifty complaints were filed against Evans from 2001 to 2014, and he was never disciplined, except for one two-day suspension. Nine of these complaints were filed after he was promoted to commander in 2012.

Further, Evans was given a pass on all of these complaints by the so-called Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which supposedly investigates every police murder and charge of brutality. The review board sustained NONE of the charges—nor did the investigative agency that IPRA replaced and the Internal Affairs Division, according to the Tribune.


Photo: Special to

This is the pattern for almost every case of police murder and terror: no charges are filed against the cop, and the cop is not even fired and in many cases not even named. Between 2001 and 2006, there were 662 cops with 11 or more complaints each. Remember this is only the tip of the iceberg—these are just the complaints that were filed. Most people who are abused by police never file a complaint, yet Evans had 14 complaints in this period. And in addition to the complaints filed, Evans was sued "numerous times." The city never admitted any guilt, while paying $225,250 to settle seven lawsuits against Evans. In fact, he was being extolled as an exemplary leader and promoted.

In investigating the lawsuits, the Tribune's Jeremy Gorner exposed another one of Evans' many direct victims (not counting brutality committed by other officers under his command). Three years ago Evans, a lieutenant at the time, went into a restaurant in plainclothes, grabbed a customer by the shirt and dragged him out of the booth. What was his supposed crime? Selling illegal DVDs! Chas Byars was eating in another booth with his four-month-old son. He told Evans that he didn't need to do that, and Evans shot back, "Shut up, bitch, or you can go to jail too." When Byars replied that he hadn't done anything wrong, Evans grabbed him and handcuffed him to the other man. Then Evans grabbed the baby carrier, "jerking the infant out of his unstrapped seat and knocking his head onto the table," according to the Tribune. Byars was hit with a police radio above his left eye and held in jail for 13 hours, not knowing what happened to his infant son or if he was OK. Byars was charged with "several misdemeanors, including obstructing an arrest and reckless conduct for allegedly failing to safely secure his son in the baby seat! Evans was never charged for this.

This is just ONE of the dozens of complaints and lawsuits against Evans where no crime or even misconduct was found, even though there was a settlement with Byars for $71,000.

Evans was promoted again to Harrison District commander on the West Side. He was in command when 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh was murdered by the police in late August. Roshad had his hands up in surrender when he was shot, according to witnesses. (See "Learning from Ferguson: People Stand Up to Chicago Police Murder of 19-Year-Old Roshad McIntosh.") Evans himself was right out there leading the charge against angry protesters the day of Roshad's murder. The police at this station showed their fear of, and contempt for, the people in the community protesting Roshad's murder when one cop said to a revolutionary, "Why are you out here riling up the savages?" Another cop told him that the police were going to put the heaviest possible charges on him because "we're not having Ferguson here."

For months, people had been exposing Evans' brutal assault on Rickey Williams and calling for his indictment and firing. When the uprising in Ferguson broke out, the demands that Evans be arrested and fired were stepped up, and Evans' crimes were exposed as part of the systemic nationwide program of police terror and joined with the demands for Justice for Mike Brown. It was two weeks later, during the outrage around Roshad's murder and almost daily protest marches to the police station, that Evans was finally charged and arrested. He still has not even been fired by the city. And the cop who killed Roshad McIntosh? He has still not even been named, much less indicted.

What is the role of the police? Bob Avakian answers this succinctly in BAsics 1:24: "The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness."

Having more Black cops will not stop police brutality. Black, white, Latino, Asian—once they put on the uniform, they are going to serve the system and come down on the people. And having "independent" police review boards will not stop it, because they are simply another part of the repressive machinery against the people.

WE are the ones who need to stop these horrors NOW. Ending this once and for all will take a revolution, and we are building a movement for revolution to uproot this illegitimate system as soon as possible. And a major part of this is for everyone who hates police terror to come together in mass determined resistance in the October Month of Resistance to Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

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