Alvarez: Crime Lab Backlog Led To Delay In Charging Cop With Misconduct
By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 29, 2014 7:30PM
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez (left) and Chicago Police commander Glenn Evans.
Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans allegedly shoved the barrel of his gun down the throat of Rickey J. Williams in Jan 2013, an act corroborated via DNA testing. So why did it take until Wednesday to charge Evans with aggravated battery and misconduct? According to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, it was because of a backlog of cases awaiting DNA testing at the Illinois State Police crime lab.
“Once the case gets to the crime lab, as I always say, DNA results are not obtained in 30 minutes as you see on TV. There is a grid that this case was put on. I know that there is a backlog in the Illinois State Police. It’s something that we deal with every day.”
Williams filed a police brutality complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority on Jan. 31, 2013, one day after Evans allegedly shoved his gun in Williams’ mouth and held a Taser to Williams’ groin. DNA samples were obtained from Williams and Evans’ gun in February 2013, and submitted to the State Police Crime Lab May 2013. But it wasn’t until April 17, 2014 that the results came back matching Williams’ DNA on Evans’ gun.
While Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond admitted the Crime Lab has a backlog of samples to test, but they could have moved Williams’ sample up if only Alvarez and police said they needed a quick turnaround.
“If priority is indicated, it usually takes three to four months,” Bond said. “There was no indication the evidence was a priority. Given the amount of cases we have to process, this was a reasonable amount of time.”
Since this case involved one of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s favorite commanders, priority, one can only assume, wasn’t an issue. This despite previous misconduct cases brought against Evans. In 2009, the city settled two lawsuits involving Evans where it was alleged he fabricated criminal charges against the plaintiffs in order to cover up his own misconduct. One filed by a former Water Department employee was settled for $99,000.
Even though the DNA sample from Evans’ gun matched Williams, the Emanuel administration refused to strip Evans of his police powers despite a recommendation to do so by the IPRA once the DNA test results were complete and known to investigators.
Meanwhile, Evans’ attorney Laura Morask is hard at work defending her client. Morask said Evans is the victim of a “flawed IPRA investigation” and that no one has asked for Evans’ side of the story. The reckless conduct charges against Williams were dropped when the officers failed to appear in court. Evans and officers claimed Williams flashed a gun at them, but no weapon was ever recovered.
Evans was released Thursday without having to post bond. He left the courthouse through a ceremonial door rarely used, so he could avoid reporters. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told the Sun-Times the lieutenant who did Evans this solid will be punished.