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Indicted commander has community support, McCarthy says

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Friday Grand Crossing residents want him to reinstate their indicted former district Cmdr. Glenn Evans and he would consider it if Evans is exonerated.

One day after Evans was formally indicted on aggravated battery and official misconduct charges, McCarthy talked about the impressive show of support that one of his most trusted commanders received at Thursday night’s Police Board hearing.

“There was 20 or 30 people who came. They presented a petition in support of Commander Evans while at the same time saying, ‘Look, we’re not even addressing the allegation. We’re just talking to you about the character’ “ of the man,  the superintendent said during a taping of, “Connected to Chicago,” to be broadcast at 2 p.m. Saturday on WLS-AM Radio (890).

“That was really telling because it’s the same group of people that, when I moved him from the 3rd District to the 11th District, came out to the Police Board meeting and protested….I complimented them. It’s easy for people to come and complain. When people come in support of somebody, it’s really telling. Commander Evans does have widespread support in the community because he’s one of the hardest-working people we have.”

McCarthy stressed that, if true, the charges against Evans are “obviously reprehensible and intolerable in a police agency.” But he also condemned the rush to judgment by the news media.

“Everybody has Glenn Evans as guilty right now,” McCarthy said.

“If it’s true, it’s obviously a big problem. I’d love to see the thing come to a conclusion without dragging on for months and months and months.”

But what if Evans is exonerated? Would McCarthy restore one of his favorites to the role of district commander?

“Well, these folks…were asking me to restore him to commander and put him back into the 3rd District. And I told them, based on their support of him, if that were to occur, I would certainly consider it,” he said.

Evans, 52, has been accused of putting his .45-caliber pistol “deep down” a suspect’s throat last year. He has been further accused of holding a Taser to the man’s groin and threatening to kill him unless he led officers to the gun he was allegedly carrying.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has said that  a backlog at the Illinois State Police crime lab was responsible for a nearly one-year delay in processing key DNA evidence that led to the charges against Evans.

McCarthy has been under fire for assigning Evans to one of Chicago’s most violent districts and leaving him there during a protracted investigation, despite a history of lawsuits and excessive force complaints that cost Chicago taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to settle.

Also on Friday, McCarthy said he hopes to stay on the job if Mayor Rahm Emanuel is re-elected even though his energy level is only half-way back to where it was before his heart attack in early June.

McCarthy said he’s trying his hardest to process stress a little better and take things in stride, but the job doesn’t allow it.

“To not be upset or concerned about all of the things that I have to deal with wouldn’t be normal. It’s a difficult dynamic. There’s a real tension there,” he said.

“How do you take a murder in stride? How do you say, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ I know what we’re supposed to do and I know how we can prevent these things. Therefore, I get more and more upset. I’ve often said that I take every one of these murders and every one of these shootings personally….because I have this firm belief that every one of them can be prevented in some fashion.”