Case Against Police Commander Takes Another Hit
A Cook County judge released evidence to defense attorneys yesterday that could undermine a high-profile criminal case against a Chicago Police Commander.
Judge Diane Cannon released the findings by the city’s Inspector’s General office in their investigation of the agency that reviews police misconduct—the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). While Cannon has placed a “gag order” on the case, information gleaned during several hearings indicates that the Inspector General’s office has conducted an investigation into IPRA, an investigation that could reveal misconduct within the agency, including possible misconduct in connection with Evans’ case.
The evidence was brought forward by the Cook County State’s Attorney, who told the judge it contained potentially exculpatory evidence against Chicago Police Commander Glenn Evans, accused of putting a pistol in the mouth of suspect, Rickey J. Williams, a gang member, during an arrest in 2014.
The state’s attorney stated they brought the evidence forward because they were obligated to do so under the Brady law, which dictates that a prosecutor “must disclose evidence or information that would prove the innocence of the defendant or would enable the defense to more effectively impeach the credibility of government witnesses.”
The prosecutor’s announcement of this evidence was a bombshell in the Evans’ case, delaying the trial until the judge could review it. Cannon’s decision to release the evidence to Evans’ attorneys may be another sign of its potential to bolster his case.
Recently, IPRA investigator, Martrice Campbell, was fired from the agency based on allegations of perjury in another, unrelated case. Campbell may also have been an investigator in the city’s investigation of Evans.
One controversial issue is the release of a state police crime lab DNA report, one stating that Williams’ DNA was on Evans’ gun. That report was released to the media, initially at public radio station WBEZ.
But Evans’ attorney, Laura Morask, has called into question claims made about the state police report, claims that the local media ran with in a kind of media frenzy. She has also criticized the manner in which the evidence was obtained from Evans, as well as the fact that it was released to public radio station WBEZ.
Morask—a former prosecutor with extensive experience in DNA evidence cases—has argued, for example, that the presence of DNA by the suspect Ricky J. Williams on Evans’ gun could have come from “multiple modes” of transfer, and is in no way conclusive that Evans placed the gun in Williams’ mouth.
Evans’ attorney has also attacked the investigation by IPRA, stating that his due process was violated by the fact that neither the prosecutor nor IPRA ever interviewed him. Further, she has argued that the release of the DNA report to the media also violated his due process, by releasing evidence while an investigation was still under way.
Morask is demanding records from WBEZ and the Independent Police Review Authority, one of several government entities that had the report. At the hearing, Morask said the records would show bias on the part of the case’s investigators.