Two Chicago police officers who went undercover to help weed out crooked cops say some of their own commanders have turned their backs on them and systematically black-balled them within the department.
In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago, Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria said they went to superiors to report that other officers were involved in illegal activities and framing innocent people.
But those supervisors, the pair allege, said they were told to "disregard" the infractions. Furthermore, they said others within the department labeled them as "rats" and were told they "should expect to be on the 'receiving end' of severe retaliation."
"I almost feel punished for doing the right thing," Echeverria said Thursday at the law offices of Elliot R. Zinger & Associates.
Spalding and Echeverria said they were working on an investigation that ultimately lead to charges being lobbed against two officers, Sgt. Ronald Watts and Ofc. Kallat Mohammed.
But they allege top brass ignored their early claims that Watts was a criminal, forcing them to go to federal authorities.
Soon after, they said, their identities as Internal Affairs officers were revealed to fellow officers.
"If the bosses are telling you negatives about another officer, that is going to set the stage for how they perceive you, how you're accepted," said Spalding.
The criminal complaint alleges that during one meeting about Watts' criminal activity, Commander Adrian Stanley told them: "I don't want to hear this. I don't want to know. Just leave it alone."
But word was getting out amongst the rank and file, and the complaint alleges that Debra Kirby, who at one time was Deputy Chief of Police, knew Spalding and Echeverria were working on the case.
"We were then told that she denied knowing about our investigation and we were basically called liars," said Spalding.
Aside from Stanley and Kirby, the lawsuit lists the city of Chicago, Chief Juan Rivera, Sgt. James Padar, Cmdr. James O'Grady, Cmdr. Nicholas Roti, Dep. Supt. James Jackson, Lt. Kevin Sadowski, Lt. Debra Pascua, Sgt. Maurice Barnes, Lt. Robert Cesario and Cmdr. Joe Saleme as defendants.
Police officials on Thursday had no comment on the lawsuit.