Suspect's DNA found on gun of Chicago officer charged with assault

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 09, 2015 4:17 PM

By Nikitta Foston

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Prosecutors rested their case against a Chicago police commander accused of putting the barrel of his gun into a suspect's mouth, after a forensic expert testified on Wednesday that the suspect's DNA had been found on the weapon.

Glenn Evans, 53, who had been praised for his work in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods, went on trial in Chicago on Tuesday for aggravated battery and official misconduct in the Jan. 30, 2013, arrest of Rickey Williams, 25.

Prosecutors said Evans also held a Taser to Williams' groin.

Both men are black.

Williams was charged with reckless conduct, but the charges were later dropped.

Evans' trial is unfolding the same week the U.S. Department of Justice launched a civil rights investigation into the practices of the Chicago Police Department.

Evans, who was accused of threatening to kill Williams, has been the subject of several police misconduct lawsuits, according to media reports.

On Wednesday, Evans' defense attorney, Laura Morask, asked an Illinois State Police forensic scientist testifying for the prosecution why a saliva test had not been done on the gun.

While a non-saliva test showed traces of Williams' DNA on the weapon, Morask has argued that finding the victim's DNA on the gun did not prove it was in Williams' his mouth.

Forensic scientist Debra Klebacha said the evidence was solid.

"Only Ricky Williams DNA was conclusively present on the gun," Klebacha told the court.

Several police officers who were present the night of Williams' arrest testified on Wednesday that the officer believed the suspect had a gun as he chased him into an abandoned building on the city's South Side.

Evans had yelled to Williams, "Raise your hands," after they found him hiding in a pantry, Officer Ruben Sanchez said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has come under criticism for the city's handling of a 2014 police shooting in which a black teenager was killed, issued an emotional apology on Wednesday and pledged to reform the police department.

Hundreds of demonstrators calling for Emanuel's resignation shut down streets in downtown Chicago on Wednesday.

Evans' trial was to continue on Thursday.

(Reporting by Nikitta Foston; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Toni Reinhold, Victoria Cavaliere)