Corruption investigation centers on elite officers
August 31, 2006 (WLS) -- A corruption investigation is centering on an elite group of Chicago police officers. Charges are expected any day against several officers assigned to the department's special operations section.
The police officers are accused of using their guns and badges to rough up and steal from several Chicagoans. Among the suspected officers is a man who won the superintendent's award for valor.
ABC7 has dug up civil suits filed in recent years against several of the suspected rogue cops. In some cases, the city settled out of court. Others are still pending. But, Thursday afternoon, the Cook County state's attorney reportedly believes there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges against at least four Chicago police officers.
August 22, 2004. A man says he was in his car in front of his home near Pulaski and Archer when plainclothes police officers drove up, accused him of dealing drugs, then forced their way into his home. The officers are accused of pepper spraying the dog, then roughing up the man's wife.
"She answered the door. Police said they were coming in. She asked for a search warrant, they said they didn't have one and didn't need one. They barged through the door and threw her on the coach," said Lawrence Jackowiak, plaintiff's attorney.
This lawsuit claims the officers robbed the couple-- while their kids were upstairs. According to the suit, they "took many pieces of jewelry," "took about $50,000" in cash," and then planted drugs. The suit says, "Officers told Negrete that they were going to 'put 7 pounds on her' and put a 'triple X felony' on her because she did not cooperate."
Attorney Lawrence Jackowiak says he is aware of nearly 20 similar complaints against officers from the department's special operations section.
"A lot of the people are immigrants who get paid in cash and who don't use banks, who keep cash around the house, and a lot of these people had money stolen without a search warrant or justification," said Jackowiak.
The drug charges against Rene Guitierrez and his wife Alicia Negrete were dismissed when the arresting officers didn't show up in court.
Now, for the first time, Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline is acknowledging publicly that several of his elite cops are under suspicion.
Cline released a statement saying, "This has been an ongoing internal investigation initiated and conducted by the department's Internal Affairs Division. We are now working with the State's Attorney."
While we do know the names of the officers suspected of wrongdoing, we are not using their names because they have not been charged.
The Sun-Times reports four of the officers have already been stripped of their guns and badges -- and more may follow.
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