Convictions thrown out for 15 men allegedly framed by corrupt Chicago cops
Seven police officers removed from street duty pending probe
November 18, 2017
(CHICAGO, ILL.) -- In a tale that reads like a movie script, the Chicago Police Dept. said this week that seven officers, once "part of an allegedly corrupt crew will be removed from street duties while their conduct years ago is investigated," according to the Chicago Tribune.
That news came Thursday, hours after Cook County prosecutors threw out the convictions of 15 men who were reportedly framed by the crew -- a crew that was led by a former Chicago PD Sgt., Ronald Watts, who did prison time for shaking down drug dealers.
A Police spokesman said Thursday night that one sergeant and six officers who worked with Watts have been placed on paid desk duty while an internal investigation is conducted, according to the newspaper story.
Items from the report:
.......In the wake of the mass exoneration, attorneys vowed to continue to review potentially hundreds of convictions tied to Watts and his crew.
.......The lead attorney for the 15 men whose drug cases were thrown out said as many as 500 additional convictions need to be checked out.
.......Mark Rotert, head of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s Conviction Integrity Unit whose investigation led to the dismissals, promised a careful review of remaining cases tied to Watts and his crew.
....... The mass exoneration Thursday comes two months after lawyers for the 15 men filed a joint petition seeking to overturn a total of 18 criminal drug convictions, alleging that Watts and his crew framed all of them between 2003 and 2008.
.......Watts and an officer under his command were sent to federal prison in 2013 for stealing money from a drug courier who had been working as an FBI informant.
....... The Watts-related convictions of five other people had previously been thrown out, so Thursday’s development brings the total to 20 of those cleared of wrongdoing.
.......Two Chicago police officers who alleged they were blackballed for trying to expose Watts’ corruption years ago won a $2 million settlement in their whistleblower lawsuit.
Details here .