clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ald. Ervin clashes with cop commander, is ordered from station

One of police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s rising stars is off to a controversial start in one of Chicago’s toughest districts after a run-in with a politician from the neighborhood.

Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans clashed with Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) on Thursday afternoon, and the alderman was ordered out of the station, according to an aide to the alderman.

A police spokesman, Adam Collins, provided no details about the confrontation in a statement, other than to call it “a misunderstanding about scheduling.”

On Friday afternoon, the alderman and the commander “had a very positive and productive meeting,” according to the statement.

According to Ervin’s aide, the alderman went to the district station at 3151 W. Harrison to “welcome Evans and invite him to lunch.” Somehow, the conversation turned into a heated exchange — with Evans demanding Ervin leave his office, the staffer said.

It wasn’t the first time Evans has squared off with a community leader. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Until recently, Evans was the commander of the Grand Crossing District, where McCarthy has credited him for bringing down murders, shootings and other crimes.

The Rev. Corey Brooks said he complained to McCarthy last month that he was escorted out of the Grand Crossing station on Evans’ orders.

The pastor said he visited the South Side station to ask about officers ticketing cars in his church parking lot. “I asked, ‘Is this the norm?’ ” Brooks said. “ ‘If it is, I need to let our members know.’ ” Brooks said Evans was standing nearby.

“He went ballistic,” Brooks said. “He said, ‘I don’t take orders from politicians and preachers. The only ones I have to follow are the mayor and the superintendent.’ ”

Brooks said he responded that Evans was acting unprofessionally. Evans instructed officers to escort him out of the building, Brooks said, adding that the commander continued to berate him outside.

Brooks met the next day with McCarthy and Evans and said he decided not to pursue the matter “out of respect for the superintendent.”

McCarthy and Ervin engaged in their own heated exchange in October at the City Council’s budget hearings.

Ervin complained the number of blacks in the department’s exempt ranks declined during McCarthy’s tenure. But McCarthy defended his record, saying promotions under his control have involved a larger percentage of African-Americans than the department as a whole.

“I just told you the numbers of who I’m promoting, and they’re disproportionately African-American based on the demographics of this department,” McCarthy said at the time. “So I’m not going to sit here and take that, alderman. You’re wrong.”

Ervin countered: “You can leave if you don’t like what’s being said.”

At the same budget meeting, Ervin, whose father was commander of the Harrison District in the 1990s, groused that McCarthy had installed a white commander, James O’Grady, in the predominately black district.

When O’Grady retired in November, Ervin demanded McCarthy install a black commander in the Harrison District. McCarthy’s decision to assign Evans, who is black, to the district was a popular choice among many rank-and-file officers.

Ervin was also in the news last week when he apologized to his constituents for a racy video posted on YouTube of a 2012 bachelor party featuring strippers that was held on another floor of a building that includes his aldermanic office.

The alderman accused someone he once “regarded as a friend” of making the embarrassing party tape public to “extort” him for “personal gain.” He refused to name the friend or define the extortion, but insisted he didn’t use city or campaign funds to pay for the party.