One day after a Cook County Jury ruled that his shooting of a South Side teenager was unjustified in 2013, Chicago Police Officer Robert Gonzalez has new problems.
Gonzalez had been named in an excessive force case relating to the shooting of 17-year-old Christian Green. While the Independent Police Review Authority called the shooting justified, the jury in his civil lawsuit disagreed Tuesday, and awarded Green’s family $350,000.
But now, Gonzalez is named in a federal lawsuit filed by another South Sider, Lionel White. White recently saw his conviction on drug charges overturned after he presented evidence that he was framed by Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts and his tactical team at the former Ida B. Wells housing project.
Gonzalez was part of that team.
“Watts’ gang officers subjected White to excessive force, arrested him without probable cause, fabricated evidence against him, and framed him for drug possession, a charge for which he served two years in prison,” that lawsuit states. “The Chicago Police Department had received numerous civilian complaints that defendant Watts and the Watts Gang were engaging in robbery, extortion, the use of excessive force, planting evidence, fabricating evidence, and manufacturing false charges against persons at the Ida B. Wells Homes.”
Watts and one of his officers were criminally charged in February 2012 after shaking down a federal informant they believed was a drug dealer. Both pled guilty to federal charges and served time in prison. But two whistleblowing officers have alleged that Watts’ entire team was dirty, questioning why the charges stopped with only Watts and one other officer.
Among those named in the lawsuit are officers Manuel Leano and Douglas Nichols, who testified on Gonzalez’ behalf in the Christian Green case.