WGN Investigates: An officer’s lie and the boss who backed her up

Understanding the fear Debra Green says she lives, one must go back in time to March 19, 2010 and the funeral for her sister. The south sider says it was a horrific day burying her best friend. Then, she says, it got much worse.

As the procession left the funeral home, it headed west on 79th Street towards Vincennes. That’s when a Chicago police officer –driving her own car and late for work – cut in.

Green says she pointed to her own car’s funeral sticker, motioning that it’s not proper to disrupt a funeral procession.   But she says, the woman, who turned out to be officer Sylshina London, cut in and kept following the procession.

But officer London tells a very different tale.

She says Debra Green threw a bottle at her and hit her in the face and her car. London made a “10-1” call: An assault on an officer, officer in distress. What happens next are lights flashing, sirens blaring as every officer available rushes to the aide of one of their own.

Debra Green had no idea what was about to happen. Here’s how she describes it:

“My heart had just dropped,” she says. “And the guns was just everywhere. They surrounded the whole car from the front to the back to the side saying “Get your f**king hands up right now. Get your hands up.’ And I just threw my hands up. I didn’t know what to do. I threw them up.”

Commander Glen Evans heard the call too. He was a lieutenant at the time and off-duty, but he showed up.   Who is he? He’s best known for recently being accused to jamming his gun down a suspect’s throat in a police abuse case.

What Evans did next to Green might make one question whether there really was “an assault on officer” in this case. He let Green and the rest in her car go. But again, letting Green explain, Evans allegedly left her with this diatribe.

“He took my ID and he said I’m going to let you go,” she says. “And he said ‘You’ll all going to turn yourself in or I’m going to kick you’re f**king doors in’. And I’m like ‘For what, officer? I didn’t do nothing.’ ‘ You heard what the f**k I said. Turn yourself f**king in or I’m going to kick your f**king doors in.’”

All of this led to Green missing her sister’s burial. Then a date in court with a judge who didn’t believe her, but rather, believed Officer London’s version of the story.

Green was convicted of assaulting the officer. She was devastated. She says the judge told her there was no evidence showing she assaulted the officer. That he believed an officer of the law who testified under oath and not an angry woman about to bury her sister.

It turns out there was evidence. Camera #170 on the corner of 79th St and Vincennes shows something – a smudge, some trash or a bottle, but it’s nowhere near the officer’s white car. In fact, the officer’s window is clearly rolled up so nothing could have hit her.

A year later Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alverez cleared Green and charged Officer London with perjury.   Green’s attorney, Victor Henderson, said, but for the camera, Green would be just another convicted Chicagoan.

Green is suing the city over the arrest and conviction she was put through. But even now, there is some justice. On Thursday, former Officer London began serving four months in prison for lying. Her mentor and the man who testified under oath on her behalf is none other than Commander Evans.

Chicago police wouldn’t comment because there is a lawsuit from Green pending. It did say the Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the case. Evans attorney did not comment. Evans, by the way, pled not guilty to the most recent case of sticking the gun barrel down the man’s throat.

WGN Investigates talked off camera to former Officer London as she was turning herself in to jail. She maintains her innocence, saying she was hit with a bottle during a confrontation but it happened before the videotaped moment that was made public.

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