Citizen Police Review Commission dismisses ‘lengthy’ allegations against EPD officers


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Evanston police Cmdr. Ryan Glew. Glew spoke Wednesday at a Citizen Police Review Commission meeting regarding a complaint against Evanston Police Department.

Elena Hubert, Assistant City Editor

Content warning: This story contains mentions of alleged police misconduct.

Evanston’s Citizen Police Review Commission ruled unanimously Wednesday there will be no further investigation into a complaint filed against Evanston Police Department officers. 

In the investigated incident, officers responded to the complainant’s residence with probable cause of arrest, according to a summary of facts presented during the meeting.

Five members of the nine-person commission reviewed redacted body-worn camera footage in a private executive session during the meeting. The commission was created in October 2019 to provide resident perspectives on misconduct claims against EPD officers.

Commission members reviewed documents relating to the investigation prior to the meeting and listened to a summary of case facts before watching body camera footage in full during the meeting, ultimately assessing whether each allegation was reflected in the footage and documents.

“We were able to see the police officers speaking to him, the way they treated him, the way they treated him in the apartment and at the station,” Commissioner Blanca Lule said.

Chief of Police Richard Eddington, who was not present at the meeting, will decide whether disciplinary measures will be taken against officers according to state law. 

While officers were at his residence, the complainant claimed that they stepped on a prayer mat, which he said he considered a sign of disrespect. He also claimed the officers improperly recovered and inventoried documents he would have used to defend himself.

According to the summary of facts, the complainant also alleged officers failed to adequately read him his Miranda rights, then denied him access to an attorney. 

He further claimed a detective made disrespectful comments and took advantage of his disabilities to acquire a statement and confession from him, according to the summary of facts.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Ryan Glew said the investigation was “lengthy.” 

“It’s a complicated investigation case not in the severity of accusations, but in the number of accusations and how they were crafted,” he said. 

In response to the allegations that officers improperly obtained documents, Commission Chair Nyika Strickland said, according to EPD’s records, the complainant never returned to the station to pick up his materials. 

According to documents read by Strickland, the complainant further alleged officers denied him access to prescribed mental health medication prior to his arrest, which he said caused him to suffer confusion, disorientation, anxiety and physical illness during his arrest and interrogation. Lule said she did not think this was reflected in the body-worn camera footage.

“He sounds lucid and calm the whole time that he’s being detained,” Lule said.

Strickland said the body-worn camera footage did not include a request to take medication during the interrogation. She also said officers called an ambulance when the complainant said he was experiencing shortness of breath. 

While in custody, the complainant appeared in Bond Court, where a judge determined there was enough probable cause to detain the complainant. Based on the judge’s decision, commissioners determined the complainant’s claim unfounded that there was no probable cause.

Commissioner Cindy Reed questioned whether the complainant was read his Miranda rights at the station or when he was initially detained. The complainant alleged he was “inadequately Mirandized” by officers, to which Glew said the reading of Miranda rights is not required until before interrogation, when he was read his rights.

After reviewing body camera footage during the Wednesday meeting, the commission determined the complainant expressed during the altercation that he did not want an attorney. 

Concerning the claim that a detective made derogatory statements against the complainant, Lule said she didn’t hear any “derogatory names or anything that I would think would be condescending” in the footage.

After finding all complaints unfounded, the commission moved to send the investigation back to the Human Services Committee, recommending no further investigation.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for May 4.

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Twitter: @elenahubert25

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