Quincy police investigate alleged ‘racist attack’ against Joliet West alum Jazzpher Evans at club

Chief says investigators reviewing video evidence and talking to witnesses

Lawyers for a local student at Quincy University say she was the victim of a hate crime when choked until losing consciousness and dragged out of a night club by the owner after she wanted a change in music played by the DJ.

Quincy police are investigating what happened to Jazzpher Evans early Sunday at a bar and restaurant called The Barn.

Evans, 19, of Shorewood is a graduate of Joliet West High School and a freshman at Quincy University where she plays basketball on a full athletic scholarship and is studying biochemistry.

She “sustained a traumatic brain injury, was rendered unconscious for at least five minutes, suffered multiple lacerations and cuts to her face, nose, hip, back and neck,” according to a press release from Saulter Law.

Calling the incident a “racist attack,” the law firm’s statement said Evans “continues to suffer great emotional trauma due to this savage life threatening beating.”

Evans, an African American, was pushed against a wall by the club owner after she and a fellow female student who is white requested a change in music while standing near the DJ booth, according to the statement.

The incident took place around 1:30 a.m., according to a news release from Quincy Police Chief Robert Copley.

The release said a 19-year-old female “suffered injuries in an altercation with the owner of the establishment.”

“In addition to her significant physical trauma,” the family’s statement said, “she has and continues to suffer great emotional trauma due to this savage life threatening beating.”

Quincy police are working with with Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office on the investigation.

The chief in his statement urged patience for a “thorough and proper” investigation and said he understood the “demand for ‘quick justice.’”

Copley said police are reviewing video recordings of the incident and speaking to witnesses. He said there was not a timeline for filing charges.

The chief also said police have been called to The Barn for disturbances in the past and have heard “rumors” of the owner going “overboard” in handling patrons but nothing that rose to a criminal level.

Copley questioned why a 19-year-old was allowed in the club and said police may have reason to take action on The Barn’s liquor license.

Quincy University President Brian McGee issued a statement Wednesday that the school is cooperating with the police investigation of the “reported assault of a QU student.”

“Quincy University supports its students and will never tolerate violence targeting a student,” McGee said. “We will do everything we can to make certain this assault is fully investigated.”

Both Copley and McGee asked for anyone with knowledge of the incident to contact Quincy Regional Crime Stoppers at 217-228-4474.

The Joliet West Girls Basketball wished Evans a speedy recovery in a tweet on Wednesday.

“Jazz was our leader for four years,” the tweet said. “She was a great student-athlete, teammate and captain. She’s a great person.”

Last month, Evans was named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference All-Freshman squad after a season in which she played in 17 games for the Quincy University Hawks.

Her family said she graduated from Joliet West with academic and athletic honors.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.