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Convictions were dismissed Thursday against 15 men after they said several dirty Chicago Police officers framed them for bogus drug charges, USA Today reported.

A former police sergeant and his crew of cops threatened the men with “protection payoffs from residents and drug dealers in a city housing project.” The credibility of the convictions against the group, filed from 2003 to 2008, was questioned by Cook County prosecutors, they confirmed to Judge LeRoy Martin Jr.

Officer Ronald Watts and his subordinates had gone rogue, prosecutors believed. More convictions could possibly be overturned by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s conviction integrity unit which vows to review any legitimate complaints brought by plaintiffs charged with crimes that were investigated by Watts.

“In good conscience, we could not see these convictions stand,” Mark Rotert, who heads the Cook County State’s Attorney’s conviction integrity unit, stated.

The mass exoneration against the men, including African Americans, is a rare move. But the cases bring to light more collusion within the beleaguered police department, which has been condemned for using brute force against people of color for years now.

But the city maintains that there is  “zero tolerance for abuse, misconduct or any unlawful actions” by law enforcement, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a joint statement.

“The actions of Ronald Watts must be condemned by all of us, and we will continue our work to ensure the abuses of the past are never repeated in the future,” Emanuel and Johnson said in the statement.

Lawyers for the 15 men petitioned for the drug convictions to be overturned because of Watts’ involvement 15 months ago, the group said.

SOURCE: USA Today, The Chicago Tribune


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Charges Dismissed Against 15 Men Linked To Cases Of Corrupt Chicago Cops was originally published on newsone.comfeed

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