State's Attorney to Take Fresh Look at Cases Involving Alleged Crooked Cops | NBC Chicago

State's Attorney to Take Fresh Look at Cases Involving Alleged Crooked Cops

"I absolutely believe that this is unlike any other scandal that I’ve ever witnessed," Defense Attorney Joshua Tepfer said. "I believe it encapsulates the code of silence like nothing I’ve ever seen."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In a virtually unprecedented move, The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has reportedly agreed to take a fresh look at cases involving a disgraced Chicago Police sergeant and the tactical team he commanded on Chicago’s South Side. Phil Rogers reports.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 27, 2017)

    In a virtually unprecedented move, The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has reportedly agreed to take a fresh look at cases involving a disgraced Chicago Police sergeant and the tactical team he commanded on Chicago’s South Side.

    Already in that case, the commander of the crew, Sgt. Ronald Watts, and one of his officers, Khalat Mohammed, were convicted of shaking down drug dealers and others at the Ida B. Wells housing project.  But others have come forward to say they were framed by the officers and others who worked on the same tactical team.  
    Two other Chicago police officers, Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria, said they developed  evidence which was never prosecuted, that the entire team was dirty.
    In court this morning, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told Judge Leroy Martin, “We are looking into the matter, and investigating all of the claims that are brought to us.”
    In the long run, that could end up involving hundreds of cases.
    Defense Attorney Joshua Tepfer told Martin this morning that he has been working with the State’s Attorney’s office to identify other individuals who were framed and wrongfully convicted by Watts and officers working under his command.  Tepfer told the judge that the two sides are even seeking outside funding, to finance a much wider investigation.
    “In my belief there are many, many cases of individuals who were wrongfully convicted at the hands of these officers,” Tepfer told NBC5.  “The process of identifying them has always been the most difficult part of the process.”
    Journalist Jamie Kalven, who had sued for the appointment of a so-called “special master” to investigate wrongdoing by the officers, called the decision by the State’s Attorney to proactively investigate the cases, “a new day.”
    “Nobody knows really how big this potentially is,” Kalven said.  “These officers operated in abandoned communities in high rise public housing for more than a decade.”
    Officers Spalding and Echeverria, who tried to blow the whistle on wrongdoing at Ida B. Wells, said they unsuccessfully tried to warn superiors that uncharged officers were still working.
    “Officers who have been engaged in criminal activity for years may very well still be on the force,” Kalven said.  
    A spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said at least initially, the probe will be centered on individuals still incarcerated who might have been framed by Watts.  But Tepfer says the two sides will make an effort to expand that inquiry to include other individuals who are no longer in custody, but may have been framed by Sgt. Watts previously…”  
    “I absolutely believe that this is unlike any other scandal that I’ve ever witnessed,” Tepfer told NBC5.  “I believe it encapsulates the code of silence like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

    Already in that case, the commander of the crew, Sgt. Ronald Watts, and one of his officers, Khalat Mohammed, were convicted of shaking down drug dealers and others at the Ida B. Wells housing project. But others have come forward to say they were framed by the officers and others who worked on the same tactical team.

    Two other Chicago police officers, Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria, said they developed evidence which was never prosecuted, that the entire team was dirty.

    Judge Vacates Conviction, Drops Charges Against Man Who Claims he Was Set Up by Disgraced Chicago Cop

    [CHI] Judge Vacates Conviction, Drops Charges Against Man Who Claims he Was Set Up by Disgraced Chicago Cop
    A Cook County judge on Wednesday vacated the 2006 conviction and dropped all charges against a man who was convicted at the hands of a disgraced Chicago police officer and his team. Phil Rogers reports.
    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016)

    In court this morning, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats told Judge Leroy Martin, "We are looking into the matter, and investigating all of the claims that are brought to us."

    In the long run, that could end up involving hundreds of cases.  But for now the State’s Attorney’s office suggests a limited examination of those convicted by the officers in question.

    Defense Attorney Joshua Tepfer told Martin this morning that he has been working with the State’s Attorney’s office to identify other individuals who were framed and wrongfully convicted by Watts and officers working under his command. Tepfer told the judge that the two sides are even seeking outside funding, to finance a much wider investigation.

    “We’re working together to get funding that would not cost taxpayers a dime,” Tepfer told the judge.  

    "In my belief there are many, many cases of individuals who were wrongfully convicted at the hands of these officers," Tepfer told NBC5. "The process of identifying them has always been the most difficult part of the process."

    Journalist Jamie Kalven, who had sued for the appointment of a so-called "special master" to investigate wrongdoing by the officers, called the decision by the State’s Attorney to proactively investigate the cases, "a new day."

    State's Attorney Agrees to Take Second Look at Scores of Cases Involving Alleged Dirty Cops

    [CHI] State's Attorney Agrees to Take Second Look at Scores of Cases Involving Alleged Dirty Cops
    In a decision that is certain to send shock waves through City Hall and the Chicago Police Department, both the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office and the City of Chicago Law Department said Tuesday they would not oppose appointment of a so-called “Special Master” to investigate potential wrongdoing by an alleged crew of corrupt police officers who worked for years in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. Phil Rogers reports.
    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016)

    "Nobody knows really how big this potentially is," Kalven said. "These officers operated in abandoned communities in high rise public housing for more than a decade."

    Officers Spalding and Echeverria, who tried to blow the whistle on wrongdoing at Ida B. Wells, said they unsuccessfully tried to warn superiors that uncharged officers were still working.

    "Officers who have been engaged in criminal activity for years may very well still be on the force," Kalven said. 

    While the State’s Attorney’s spokesman said the initial examination will be centered on individuals still incarcerated who might have been framed by Watts, Tepfer says the two sides will make an effort to expand that inquiry to include other individuals allegedly framed by officers who are no longer in custody.

    "I absolutely believe that this is unlike any other scandal that I’ve ever witnessed," Tepfer told NBC 5. "I believe it encapsulates the code of silence like nothing I’ve ever seen."

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