A day after the US Justice Department announced a federal probe into the Chicago Police Department, and as protests continue over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teen, one of the force's commanders faced trial Tuesday for allegedly shoving his gun down a suspect's mouth.
Commander Glenn Evans, 53, will go on trial on Tuesday on charges that he took suspect Rickey Williams into an abandoned building in the city's South Side, put his gun "deep" into his mouth, held a Taser to his groin and threatened to kill him on January 30, 2013.
Evans was charged last year with aggravated battery and official misconduct after the incident. Evans was removed from his commander's post after authorities reportedly found Williams's DNA on the barrel of the cop's .45-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun. Evans is currently on paid desk duty.
The trial comes a day after US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a DoJ civil rights investigation of the third-largest American city's police department. The probe will focus on Chicago Police Department's use of excessive and deadly force, racial bias, and systems of accountability to determine whether its officers systematically violate constitutional rights.
Hours after the announcement Monday, the city released CCTV video from December 2014 showing officers using a stun gun on a man and dragging him along the floor through a hallway at the city's Far Southside lockup. Thirty-eight-year-old Philip Coleman later died at a hospital after a reaction to an antipsychotic drug.
The city has seen nearly two weeks of protests following the release of another video of the shooting death of a 17-year-old black teen by a white police officer in 2014. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder in the shooting of Laquan McDonald on the same day the video was released.
On Monday, prosecutors also said they would not seek criminal charges in another 2014 police shooting which caused the death of Ronald Johnson III. Prosecutors said Johnson had a gun and was fleeing arrest.
The amount of force that can be used by police officers has become a focus of national debate due to a series of high-profile killings of black men at the hands of mostly white police officers in US cities.
Evans, who is black, has been the subject of several police misconduct lawsuits, according to local media reports. His case will be tried by Cook County Criminal Court Judge Diane Cannon, without a jury.