CPD braces for new corruption charges
March 29, 2007 (WLS) -- The Chicago Police Department is bracing for new corruption charges in an ongoing investigation involving several supervisors in the department's Special Operations Unit.
The big question now is when will the charges come down? And how many people will be indicted?
According to law enforcement sources, at least one Chicago police sergeant and one lieutenant are in the hot seat and could be indicted down the road for their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal that has already resulted in charges against seven officers in the elite special operations section. The latest revelation hits a department that has already been staggered by two alleged beatings of civilians by off-duty cops.
Chicago's Deputy Police Superintendent Dana Starks candidly admits that feel good stories like Thursday's check presentation to a popular mentoring program will be overshadowed if, as expected, supervisors are indicted in the ongoing probe of corruption inside the elite special operations group, which has already resulted in charges against seven officers for allegedly using their badges to break into homes, steal drugs and cash, and intimidate people.
"When that investigation culminates then, yes, there will be a disappointment," said Deputy Supt. Dana Starks, Chicago police.
Superintendent Phil Cline, who attended a crime prevention event in Chicago Thursday with First Lady Laura Bush, says that his investigators have been working with local prosecutors on the special operations case from the beginning.
"That was an investigation that was initiated by our internal affairs division. And there was no FBI, no US attorney. It was done by the Chicago police," Cline said.
Cline, his department and the entire city are already reeling from the negative impact of the worldwide dissemination of this videotape of police officer Anthony Abbate beating up a bartender in a North Side tavern two weeks ago, and there is another tape of four cops allegedly beating up several businessmen a few months ago.
But the chairman of the city council police committee says the superintendent will survive the scandals because Cline's overall record is exemplary.
"You have to look at all the good things that have happened under Phil Cline's tenure in terms of crime reduction," said Ald. Isaac "Ike" Carothers, police committee chairman.
"I serve at the pleasure of the mayor. Personally, I don't have any intentions of retiring right now," said Cline.
The key to Cline's future is, of course, Mayor Daley, who has been out of the country and then on vacation for the past two weeks. Cline says he briefed the mayor by phone recently and he believes that he still has Daley's confidence. Alderman Carothers, one of City Hall's sharpest politicians, agrees, saying that after multiple scandals of his own involving corrupt underlings Daley more than anyone understands and sympathizes with Cline's situation.
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