Police arrested 31-year-old Lavatae Evans Thursday just after 12 p.m. on December 15th, 2011 in a S.W.A.T. raid at his mother’s home on Brewton Drive for crimes they say he committed at two locations with three women on the same morning.
Evans has now been charged with 5 counts of First Degree Sex Offense, one count of Armed Robbery, two counts 2nd Degree Kidnapping, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm for actions allegedly taken early in the morning of December 15th against two women at the Sunset Inn on Equipment Drive for an incident recorded at 5:52 a.m.
They also charged him with another 1st Degree Sex Offense, 1st Degree Kidnapping, Assault on a Female, and Assault with a Deadly Weapon for actions police say he took just after they told him to leave his voluntary discussion about the first set of crimes. The S.W.A.T. take down after a three-hour standoff was 12:07 p.m.
That’s not what police told the public until they were forced to tell the truth.
At first, police had reported Evans had committed a sexual assault, kidnapping, and other crimes “while they were looking for” him on charges for sexual assaults on two other women earlier the same morning at a hotel on Equipment Drive. But that turned out not to be quite true.
Police already knew where Evans was because they had him at the police station and told him to go before collecting evidence readily available to them. More accurately, they had a non-custodial, voluntary chat with him while the two alleged victims of numerous felony counts police were supposed to investigate were at the hospital being checked out.
CrimeinCharlotte.com reports that Evans’ record includes priors for convictions of drug possession and second-degree kidnapping. Evans was arrested in connection with a 1997 incident and charged with first-degree rape of a child, first-degree sex offense against a child, kidnapping and robbery. The rape and kidnapping charges were dismissed, records show, but he was convicted on the robbery charge. For the sex offense charge, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge: Felony Crime Against Nature.
Multiple news outlets, including WSOCTV report Evans has been arrested seven times on numerous charges in the past year-and-a-half, which can be confirmed on the Sheriff’s web site.
The Charlotte Observer reported police said “Foster said that as a result of the inconsistent statements, police didn't have sufficient evidence to charge Evans while he was at the Law Enforcement Center. She said investigators can't rely only on a victim pointing out a suspect to make an arrest.”
UPDATE WITH LINK /STORY DETAIL CORRECTION
Here’s one of numerous problems with CMPD’s performance: WSOCTV’s Natalie Pasquarella interviewed one of the victims in the alleged assault from the first location. The woman told Pasquarella she had thought she might be killed—that Evans had threatened the two women with a gun and she had been forced to run half-dressed out of the hotel room to get away from him. WSOC Team Reporter Linzi Sheldon had tried to obtain a copy of the surveillance tape from the hotel, but the hotel employee said he needed to keep it for police evidence. See their team report here. This occurred AFTER the voluntary discussion, AFTER he was released for supposed insufficient evidence to arrest on charges for the first two women, AFTER Evans allegedly kidnapped and forced oral sex on another woman in his mother’s home, caused a S.W.A.T. raid and standoff that ended in his arrest. The hotel still seemed to have the video during Sheldon’s report in the afternoon. Not the police.
And if a man with Evans’ record of charges for First-Degree Rape of a Child, First-Degree Sex Offense Against a Child, Kidnapping and Robbery and Felony Crime Against Nature is found hiding in a neighboring hotel room after two women run partially-clothed from their room to get away from him and a gun, you should probably keep him there at least as long as he is willing to stay. You should probably at least ask him if he is willing to stay as long as it takes you to fetch the hotel security video and take a look. You should probably at least ask why he was hiding in another room—which would be on the video as well.
And you really shouldn’t lie about what you did after another woman is kidnapped and sexually assaulted once you let him go (allegedly).
At a CMPD press conference December 16th, Major Vicki Foster admitted,
“We allowed him to leave. He did not ask to leave.”
The press conference was also attended by Chief Rodney Monroe, Deputy Chief Harold Medlock, Deputy Chief Katrina Graue, Deputy Chief Kerr Putney and others, who didn’t have anything to say. Foster also said, “He was here voluntarily and therefore he was free to leave and he could leave any time.”
You can see parts of the CMPD press conference and a partial statement from one of the women from the Sunset Inn at this WSOCTV report. She says “I pointed to him and I thought they took him off to jail. I don’t why would they release somebody like that?”
Someone anonymously alerted the media that the CMPD story claiming they were “looking for” Evans while he allegedly committed yet another kidnap and sexual assault was completely false. Here is the content of the letter:
To whom ever will listen,
The information you have received from CMPD concerning the arrest and actions of Lavantae Evans is not completely true. They have lied in an effort to cover up their mistakes which lead to an innocent person being sexually assaulted and held against her will. Police responded to the Sunset Inn at 5301 Equipment Dr around 6 a.m. on 12/15/2011. During this altercation Evans was named and positively identified as a suspect in the kidnapping and rape of two female subjects. Evans was found hiding in another hotel room a few doors down from where the assault took place. Once Evans was located he was positively identified as the person who raped and kidnapped the two women. He was then voluntarily transported to the Law Enforcement Center to be questioned by detectives. At some point Evans was allowed to leave police custody and not charged with the rape and kidnapping of the first two women. After being allowed to leave police custody he then kidnapped and raped another woman which led to the police standoff with the SWAT team responding. It was only after Evans was involved in the raping and kidnapping of third woman that detectives went and obtained warrants for his arrest for the first two women that he assaulted. CMPD completely failed in this incident and allowed a dangerous, violent and disturbed individual to walk the streets and a few hours later lead to the rape of another woman that could have been completely prevented. Please, I implore you to dig harder and see that the information released to you by CMPD is not true in its entirety. All that I have said is documented and available for public record. Please look more into this story and report the truth about what happened with Mr. Evans and CMPD's failure to protect this community.
Thank goodness someone brought this to the attention of the public in a way that couldn’t completely be covered up internally. There’s too much of that activity going on in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department and Charlotte Citizens are paying for it—literally and figuratively. Lives and lawsuits are at stake. Both are stacking up. Mayor Foxx and the City Council continue to ignore the problems, refusing completely to address issues brought to them, and in fact giving a raise to City Manager Curt Walton in the midst of his management of the Police Department with Police Chief Rodney Monroe firmly at the helm.
Thank you to the writer of the letter about this horrible situation. Please continue writing.
Thank you to all those who have written to citynewswatch. Please continue to bring issues forward.