AFRICANGLOBE – A lawyer for a man who alleges a Chicago police commander shoved a gun into his mouth ripped Superintendent Garry McCarthy for taking no action against the commander even after DNA evidence months ago appeared to corroborate the incident.
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Rickey Williams comes about two weeks after the commander, Glenn Evans, was criminally charged for allegedly putting the barrel of his service weapon “deep down” Williams’ throat, holding a Taser against his groin and threatening to kill him.
The suit alleged that the incident last year started oddly — as Williams waited at a bus stop in the Park Manor neighborhood, Evans, then commander of the South Side’s Grand Crossing District, pulled up in a squad car and stared at Williams for several minutes. Unnerved, Williams, then 22, took off running and was chased down by Evans and as many as 10 other officers in an abandoned house, where the abuse took place out of public view, according to the suit.
While McCarthy has long emphasized the importance of improving the police department’s relations with the community, Williams’ lawyer, Antonio Romanucci, blasted the superintendent for his past praise of Evans’ aggressive style and said the allegations of brutality further alienate police from the community.
“It’s absolutely shocking that this was a commander who sets the example for rank-and-file (officers),” Romanucci told reporters at his law office in the River North neighborhood while flanked by Williams, now 24, and Williams’ mother and girlfriend.
In April, the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that investigates allegations of excessive force against Chicago police, recommended to McCarthy that Evans be stripped of his police powers after testing found Williams’ DNA on Evans’ service weapon. But McCarthy, who by then had moved Evans to head the West Side’s Harrison District, did not follow the recommendation, keeping Evans in place until hours before he was charged on Aug. 27. He is now on desk duty.
Williams had filed a complaint with IPRA the day after the incident in January 2013.
According to the lawsuit, Evans grabbed, pushed and beat Williams, throwing him to the floor inside the abandoned house on South Eberhart Avenue. Evans held a stun gun to Williams’ groin and demanded to know where Williams “put the guns,” the suit said. Evans then jammed the barrel of his service weapon deep into Williams’ mouth, touching his throat, and said, “I should kill you right now,” the suit alleged.
No gun was found in Williams’ possession, but he was still arrested on a misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct. But that charge was dropped a few months later when the arresting officers didn’t show up in court. In bringing charges late last month against Evans, Cook County prosecutors noted that police reports from the incident didn’t indicate that Williams resisted arrest or tried to disarm Evans.
Williams, who was paroled last month on unrelated charges, wasn’t allowed to talk Tuesday to reporters. Instead, Romanucci released the following statement attributed to Williams.
“No words could ever describe how afraid I was when the gun was pushed in my mouth when I knew I didn’t do anything wrong,” the statement said. “I hope this lawsuit stops other police officers from doing what happened to me ever again. It took a lot of courage for me to do this, and I hope the Chicago Police Department shows its courage and changes the way it treats innocent people.”
During brief remarks, Williams’ mother, Jamie Eskridge, also decried the conduct of police.
“What happened to my son should never happen to any human being,” she said. “This is something that the Chicago Police Department, or any police department across America, should never get away with. It’s done every day in America to people. And it’s not right. And it has to stop.”
The suit also named the city of Chicago as a defendant in addition to Evans. The city’s Law Department declined comment on the lawsuit, saying it had not had time to review the allegations.
Laura Morask, one of Evans’ criminal-defense lawyers, said late Tuesday: “The fact that this convicted felon is seeking money out of this speaks for itself.”