By Hudson Crozier
Cory Evans, husband and father of two, was an officer for the Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky for 8 years. During the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, he was part of the special response team attempting to quell the widespread violence, looting, and property damage in Louisville.
On the night of May 31, 2020, Evans and other officers chased down and arrested a mob of protestors who were believed to have set fire to a nearby business. A white male named Marty Chester suffered a head injury during his arrest and filed a complaint to the LMPD.
After an internal investigation brought no evidence of wrongdoing on Evans' part, the complaint drew the attention of Joe Biden's Justice Department. Federal prosecutors stepped in, accused Evans of a civil rights violation, and threatened a slew of other charges if he wouldn't plead guilty.
Powerless and unwilling to take the risk of a massive prison sentence, Evans accepted the deal. Having been stripped of his badge, he is now a felon who must serve 2 years in prison and 2 more of probation. Marty Chester's charges of rioting in the first degree, unlawful assembly, and breaking curfew were all dropped.
Biden-appointee Kristen Clarke, head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, took the opportunity to publicly smear Evans as a rogue cop who ''abused his authority.'' Both local and national news sources have aided the government's claims with lopsided coverage of the story.
While awaiting orders to begin his sentence, Evans reached out to multiple other outlets to get his story told. In an interview with Upward News, Evans described his encounters with rioters, how his case was handled by the Biden administration, and his outlook on policing in America.
Chaos In the Streets
Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, Louisville became a hotbed of political violence. The experiences of Evans and other officers were intense and life-threatening.
Evans recalled officers being shot at and having rotten milk, urine, feces, and other debris being thrown at them. Protestors had also been throwing frozen water bottles, so the police attempted to confiscate batches of them before nightfall, Evans said. After lawyers submitted complaints on behalf of protestors that led to negative press coverage, the mayor's office ordered the police not to confiscate them. Evans said protesters continued to throw them on subsequent nights.
Evans argued that the media had focused its reporting on the use of fireworks to downplay violence against officers: "The things that were hurting cops weren't the fireworks; it was the improvised explosive devices that they had made and brought with them."
Shortly after exiting a police van that a mob was attempting to topple over, Evans was on the scene when 7 people were shot by protestors attempting to shoot officers. He stopped to give care to one civilian whose pelvis had been "blown out" by one of the .45 caliber rounds. As he was tending to the wound, some tried to steal his baton and rip his helmet off. A SWAT team soon surrounded Evans and the victim was loaded into an armored vehicle.
"If it hadn't been for the SWAT teams, the armored vehicle, and me," Evans said, "that guy would've been dead and the protestors would've been at fault."
Throughout his encounters, the intent of many agitators was clear to him: "They were trying to kill cops. They were trying to hurt and maim cops. If they couldn't hurt you, they wanted to make sure that you weren't going to be able to be a cop anymore."
On May 31, a few nights into the chaos, Evans had his fateful encounter with Chester, who would eventually succeed in that goal.
"As we used dispersion methods," Evans explained, "what [protestors would] do is that they'd get in these groups of 50 and 60 and run around the city, you know, causing mayhem… so we're having to track down individual groups of these people to take into custody. This particular group, we were told, they're setting fires, they're breaking into places, this and that."
Evans and his colleagues were attacked throughout the chase. "My buddy, who was right next to me, had a Molotov cocktail thrown at his feet and was set on fire," he said. "We had to put–literally put my best friend out on fire." He saw another officer get hit with a homemade bomb, causing that officer hearing loss.
Once the group was cornered between a brick wall and a chain-link fence, Evans and other officers moved in to make arrests. As soon as Chester realized he couldn't escape, Evans explained, he dropped to his knees "last-second." One officer then tackled him, and Evans joined, which is when Chester was allegedly hit by the baton in Evans' hand.
Evans admitted that the way in which Chester received his head injury in the commotion of the arrest is unclear to him, suggesting that his baton either "grazed" Chester's skull or that Chester hit his head on the ground. He was certain, however, that Chester displayed no signs of serious injury beyond some bleeding and was fully conscious.
"They Came For Me From the Very Top"
An internal investigation of the incident by the LMPD brought no proof that Evans had violated procedure or exercised unreasonable force in any way. Nevertheless, his lawyers told him that his case had elicited direct involvement from Washington D.C.
The DOJ took over and gave Evans a civil rights charge, arguing that Chester was engaged in a peaceful protest and Evans had willfully deprived him of his First Amendment rights.
FBI investigators examined footage from dozens of officers' body cams and found a quick clip of the moment where prosecutors say the strike occurred, but no officer said Evans had hit Chester in the footage or otherwise. Evans' own camera, which likely would have helped his case, was damaged earlier that night and wasn't operating at the time of the arrest.
As an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Evans requested his case to be handled by a veterans court where he would receive more lenient treatment. While the judge approved the motion, the DOJ rejected it, determined to reach a trial or plea deal.
"The government wanted me to go to prison just because they wanted a white guy who was involved in the protest to go to prison, point-blank period," he said.
Evans told Upward News that he initially intended to fight the charge until he was told what the government had planned as they reviewed his entire 8-year record with the LMPD. Because Evans happened to work in a predominantly black neighborhood, prosecutors looked to play "a statistical number game," presenting the racial imbalance of his arrest and use-of-force records as evidence of a pattern of racist behavior.
"I've never had a use-of-force complaint sustained, not one," he added, explaining that the only discipline he ever received was for wrecking a car during a high-speed pursuit.
Evans' legal team also expressed concerns over the trial and sentencing of Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd, which were occurring simultaneously, and how growing racial narratives surrounding cops might influence a jury if Evans were to go to trial.
Consequently, out of consideration for his family, especially his 4-year-old and 6-year-old sons, Cory Evans pled guilty to avoid additional charges that would put him away for close to 30 years if sustained. He has now been convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law, for which the government was never required to present evidence.
Drawing from his military experience, Evans plans to take a job offer from a logistical company following his sentence. He remains determined to make his story known and use his voice to help "fight back" against the corrupt establishment.
The War On Cops
The year 2020 introduced an era of extreme and often counterproductive burdens to law enforcement, from radical politics to violence to severe institutional pressure, partiality, and contempt. Based on his experience with most key elements of this phenomenon, former officer Evans believes that lowered expectations for policing as a career will cause "a major shift in good quality police work."
"Every cop needs to know that, like, they're going to come for you. You either need to switch careers or you need to lay low and let things ride out… it's not worth your life to save people that literally hate you."
Evans expressed frustration over another common issue, the relationship between police who arrest dangerous criminals and the courts that give them leniency, letting them back out on the streets to reoffend.
Jamarcus Glover, Breonna Taylor's drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, was arrested multiple times in advance of her death, including by Evans, who once filed a search warrant on his property. He believes a more preemptive response from courts would have kept the investigation from escalating into the search that led to Taylor's death.
"I arrested [Glover], and I indicted him, and they let him out, and then the narcotics squad started investigating," he explained. "They expanded it, they included Breonna Taylor, and now she's dead, all because they don't want to keep this dope-dealer [in jail]... I found a murder weapon in his house and they still let [him] out on bond."
Nevertheless, most outrage surrounding the case revolved around Taylor's death, the last in a series of events that paint a more complex picture. Then came the riots and the investigation that spelled the end of Evans' career.
Amidst the valid concerns Americans have about policing, the experiences of former officer Evans reveal the destructive agenda of left-wing activists, the mainstream media, and the justice system.
While officers attempt to keep their communities safe, the system neglects to take action, allowing those communities to decline and increasing conflicts with police in crime-ridden areas. As soon as a perceived mistake is made on the part of police, they are deemed a core threat to the public, political violence erupts, and the actions of protestors and cops are judged along partisan lines.