A veteran Chicago Police sergeant has been stripped of his police powers and placed on administrative duty, as part of an ongoing scandal involving a CPD tactical team which operated on Chicago's South Side.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) had forwarded recommendations to police Supt. David Brown on March 15 as part of an ongoing probe of the team that was headed by disgraced Sgt. Ronald Watts. CPD spokesman Don Terry would not confirm that the decision to strip Sgt. Alvin Jones was related to those recommendations but said the sergeant was relieved of his police powers June 2.
Jones was a longtime member of the Watts tactical team.
Watts and his team worked in the Ida B. Wells housing project, where residents contended for years that the entire unit was dirty and scores of residents had been framed on drug charges. Both the FBI and an undercover team of Chicago Police officers investigated the Watts officers.
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In the end, only Watts and one other officer, Kallat Mohammed, were criminally charged, and both went to prison. But amid the exploding scandal involving allegations of wrongdoing by other officers on the Watts team, more than 100 convictions have been overturned.
Among those cases, Watts and his unit were accused of framing a man named Ben Baker, who was arrested in 2005 and eventually sentenced to 14 years in prison. The COPA report specifically referred to the Baker case.
NBC 5 Investigates reported in March that the COPA recommendations potentially impacted one sergeant and at least three other officers connected to Ben Baker’s arrest. (Baker’s case was overturned and he was released from prison in 2016). Terry, the police spokesman, would not comment on whether any of the other officers were included in the COPA recommendations.
"The superintendent has completed his review [of the COPA recommendations] and referred the matter to the law department," Terry said. A source confirmed to NBC 5 that Jones was part of that referral.
Three years ago, amid repeated waves of exonerations involving Watts and his team, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office sent a letter to Chicago Police, notifying them that they would no longer call 10 members of the Watts team as witnesses in criminal cases due to ongoing "concerns about their credibility and alleged involvement in the misconduct of Sergeant Watts."
Jones was one of those officers. His attorney did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.