Two Chicago women are filing a lawsuit against a pair of former police officers, alleging that they were the victims of a corrupt scheme designed to shake down innocent citizens.
Micaela Cruz, one of the women filing the lawsuit, says the disgraced former officers used false information to raid her home, pulled out weapons during the search, and left her family traumatized.
According to the suits, the officers stole property and planted drugs during the searches.
“They pointed guns at my children, and came in with masks over their faces when they came into the home,” Cruz said. “They woke them up with guns in their faces, pulling them out of bed.”
The suit names two former officers, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado, saying that they were part of the scheme.
“It’s horrible they were able to get away with it for so long,” Cruz said.
Both officers were stripped of their police powers in Jan. 2018, and were convicted in October on federal conspiracy and theft charges.
“(These officers) betrayed their badges and used their police powers to lie, cheat and steal,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Franzblau said during their trial.
According to the lawsuit, the pair obtained warrants with the help of informants, who allegedly got a cut of what was stolen during the searches.
“These so-called ‘informants’ were not really informants,” attorney Josh Tepfer said. “They were incentivized or terrorized by these same officers to cooperate.”
Since the former officers were arrested, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has dropped charges against 37 people whose cases are connected to them, including Cruz and Irene Simmons, the women who filed the lawsuit.
“Both of these women are trying to expose what happened to them, and are seeking justice,” attorney Theresa Kleinhaus said.
Cruz hopes that the suit sends a clear message to other alleged victims.
“I would hope I am sending a message to other people, that they can come out and say it’s not right just because they are the police,” she said.