Judge Completely Ignores Decisive DNA Evidence:
Brutal Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans Found Not Guilty

December 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


This week in Chicago, the former police commander Glenn Evans was acquitted of felony charges. He had been indicted by a grand jury in August 2014 for shoving his gun down the throat of a 22- year-old Black man, Rickey Williams, while holding a taser to his groin and threatening to kill him. This verdict was a kick in the gut to everyone who wants to see justice done, coming as it did during the nationwide outrage against the wanton murder and brutalization of generations of young Black men, and in particular the uproar over the police murder of Laquan McDonald and its cover-up by police and city officials. And it points out the fact that there has to be massive resistance not only to get any indictment, but to get actual convictions.

Williams filed a complaint against the police the day after he was brutalized and tortured by Evans. Considering that Evans has been a notoriously brutal commander with a history of over 50 brutality complaints (see “The Case of a ‘Model’ Cop in Chicago: Promoted for Years of Brutality” at revcom.us) filed against him, this was a courageous move. The assistant state’s attorney trying the case said the evidence of Williams’s DNA on Evans’s gun is “not just the smoking gun we claim it to be. It’s a smoking frickin’ cannon.” And on the basis of finding Williams’s DNA on the gun, Evans was indicted, an extremely rare occurrence. 

But indicted is not convicted. The “justice” system is not set up for justice for the people who suffer brutality and murder at the hands of the police. Evans requested a bench trial (trial in front of a judge, not a jury). The judge, by the way, is a former prosecutor herself. Evans swaggered to the courthouse every day with arrogant assurance that he would get off. From the beginning the judge acted as an advocate for Evans and acted toward Williams as if HE was on trial.

The fact that Rickey Williams’s DNA was found on Evans’s gun was proof that he had stuck it down Williams’s throat, beyond a reasonable doubt. And Williams’s DNA was found on the gun in spite of Evans’s efforts to wipe down the gun before turning it in. The result was that Evans’s prints were not to be found even on the handle of the gun, and that Williams’s DNA was found only in the “nooks and crannies” of the gun. If anything, that Evans only superficially destroyed the evidence only shows the impunity he expected. It makes perfect sense that saliva would be found in nooks and crannies, while other ways Williams’s DNA would have been found on the gun, suggested by the judge, make no sense at all. If Williams had grabbed the gun, as the judge fantasized, the DNA from his hand would not go into nooks and crannies—and do you think he would even be alive to tell the tale? 

Nevertheless, in spite of scientific analysis of the DNA and all common sense, the judge said the DNA evidence was “of fleeting relevance or significance.” She focused instead on some inconsistencies in Williams’s recounting, 15 months after the incident, completely ignoring that he was being tortured during the encounter. You can clearly see the judge’s unapologetic bias by how she jumped on the fact that Williams didn’t identify Evans in a photo array 15 months later, even though no one questioned that it was Evans who was on the scene straddling Williams. If anything, that shows just how traumatized Williams was. 

The attorneys who are working on Williams’s federal lawsuit were incredulous. Williams’s lawyer, Stephen Blandin, said the judge “went out of her way in this case to give every benefit of the doubt” to the commander. “This isn’t about who was telling the truth and who was lying. This is about scientific DNA evidence. Rickey’s DNA was all over that gun…how do you ignore DNA evidence?” The judge didn’t credit the prosecution case with a single positive point in her 20-minute ruling! 

There was, of course, in this case the usual failure of prosecutors to prosecute when it comes to the rare instances when cops are put on trial. And along with that was the usual conspiracy involving every branch of the injustice system, including the failure of the crime lab to swab for saliva inside the barrel of the gun, which would have been immune to the judge’s fanciful alternative explanations. In Chicago the so-called Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is supposed to investigate police brutality charges, yet in less than two percent out of tens of thousands of cases were police disciplined in any way. Evans had over 50 complaints filed against him from 2001 to 2014, but he was never disciplined, except for one two-day suspension. Nine of these complaints were filed after he was promoted to commander in 2012! 

Exposure of IPRA’s lack of investigation and refusal to find any wrongdoing on the part of police has come out in recent weeks from fired IPRA investigators, in the midst of the fury over the murder of Laquan McDonald. But Evans’s lawyers cynically used this exposure of IPRA incompetence and cover-up to argue that the IPRA investigation of Evans’s DNA was bogus and not proven! 

Yes, there is a conspiracy to get the cops off. (See Bob Avakian hit at this point in an excerpt from his 2002 Revolution talk.) By the way, Commander Evans is Black and so was the judge in this trial. Having more Black cops will not stop police brutality. Black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American—once they put on the uniform, they are going to serve the system and come down on the people. Indicting vicious and brutal cops like Evans is just the beginning—convicting them and sending them to jail will take mass resistance in the streets demanding Stop Police Terror, Which Side Are You On?

This outrageous verdict comes during a moment when people have been jolted by the murder of Laquan McDonald and the cover-up of more than a year. The authorities’ response to this upheaval (see comprehensive coverage at revcom.us here) has been to make some cosmetic changes in the police department and in the IPRA. But at the same time, their response has also been to not even charge the cops in the blatant on-video murder of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson, and now to let vicious pig Evans walk—in other words, to spit in the face of the people. WE are the ones who need to stop these horrors. 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 replace it with a system that will NOT utilize torture and terror, because that is not consistent with the goal of a communist world. 


Protestors shut down Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Black Friday in response to the murder of Laquan McDonald and others.



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