CHICAGO A Chicago police commander who had been praised for his crime fighting in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods appeared in court on Thursday to face charges he put a gun in a suspect's mouth, officials said.
Commander Glenn Evans, who headed a busy district on the city's west side, has been relieved of his duties pending the case's outcome, according to Chicago police.
"The alleged actions, if true, are unacceptable to both the residents we serve and to the men and women of this department," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement. He added that the police would cooperate with prosecutors.
Evans was charged on Wednesday with aggravated battery and official misconduct in the capture of a suspect on Jan. 30, 2013, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
At Thursday's hearing Evans was released on his own recognizance, said Laura Morask, one of his defense attorneys.
The amount of force that can be used by police officers has become a focus of national debate after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a St. Louis suburb on Aug. 9. The shooting of Michael Brown, 18, was followed by weeks of sometimes violent protests.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of Chicago police misconduct, recommended that Evans be relieved of his police duties earlier this year as part of a continuing investigation, said spokesman Larry Merritt.
McCarthy, who has been under pressure to bring down the murder rate in the nation's third-largest city, has praised Evans' work in the past and said on Monday he continued to support him.
In March, McCarthy said he was assigning Evans to the west side district from a previous post because "I have 'fires' on the west side, and I have to send my best guy," according to online news site DNAinfo.com.
Evans has been the subject of several police misconduct lawsuits, according to reports in the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ, a local National Public Radio affiliate.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu and Eric Walsh)