Troubleshooter Exclusive: LMPD officer urges other officers speak up if accused after federal sentencing
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A former LMPD officer will spend two years in prison for violating a man’s civil rights during the Louisville riots in May of 2020.
A federal judge sentenced Cory Evans on Tuesday, adding two years of supervised probation for the felony.
Evans sat down for an exclusive interview with WAVE News Troubleshooters.
“If you want to say I’m a bad cop,” Evans said. “You know, you can say I made a bad decision, I wasn’t a bad cop.”
It was late May when riots erupted following protests related to the death of Breonna Taylor.
Louisville’s streets were in turmoil.
Evans recalled being inside a police van which was caught in a crowd and surrounded. For some reason, he said the command staff called the line back, leaving him isolated.
“I jumped out and ran because I wasn’t about to be trapped inside that crowd, because honestly, there was no telling what would have happened to me if I was trapped inside that crowd,” he said.
A short time later someone started shooting in the crowd, Evans was nearby when it happened.
“We heard seven to nine shots,” he said. “Luckily I had some gauze on me and we packed [the victim] up.”
“We started working on him, stabilized him the best we could,” he added.
Evans said the crowd was preventing EMS from coming through. He and his officers loaded the victim on a SWAT vehicle and took him to the hospital while Evans maintained pressure on the wound.
“That was day one, that was hours into the protest,” he said.
The day after that would cost Evans his freedom and identity as an officer.
Evans said he was responding to a group of rioters who were believed to have set a nearby Firestone business on fire.
The FBI said a white male dropped to his knees and put his hands up in the air to surrender, identifying him only as M.C.
“He does drop to his knees,” Evans said. “Not because he’s doing the right thing but because he knows he’s not going to outrun us. He gets tackled by one officer, I come from the side, that’s when the feds say I struck him.”
The FBI’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Task Force got to work. They said the strike was to the back of M.C.’s head, causing injuries and violating his civil rights.
Evans does not deny hitting M.C.
“I deny that I hit him with malice,” he said.
Evans said he struck M.C. to prevent him from reaching for a potential weapon.
“Even if they are in the act of surrendering, they might not be surrendering,” he said. “Especially after these people, they shot at us, they threw Molotov cocktails at us, they threw bricks at us, they chanted death to pigs, death to cops, kill LMPD, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “So why would I trust somebody to suddenly do the right thing? I don’t trust these people at this point so I want to do what I have to do to go home to my little boys.”
Officials confirmed an officer was hit with a Molotov cocktail, setting his pant leg on fire.
“They can say what they want but until they are in that situation, they don’t know how they’d act.”
Evans believes he was the target of an anti-police political machine combined with a media that perpetuates narratives that may not be true. He took the plea deal, he explained, under the fear of facing 10 years behind bars.
Evans has been investigated by LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit before for a use of force incident during a traffic stop involving a man named Jarrus Ransom. The department later cleared him.
Evans worries about his two son, both under the age of seven.
“I can go sit on my hands for four years and then come back out and go find a job, that’s not hard,” Evans said. “What would be hard would be the negative effects on my kids, the negative effects on my wife, my mom, siblings. That’s going to be the hard part.”
The exclusive interview is one Evans requested as his own form of protest and to encourage other officers to speak up when accused.
“I am not going to let anybody force me into accepting something that I am not,” he said. “I’m not a bad cop, I’m not a racist, I’m not a white supremist, I am none of those things, I am a human being that cares about my community despite how much it might hate me.”
Evans, a U.S. Military member who served in Afghanistan will lose his military and police pension.
He will report back to serve his time in a couple of weeks.
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