Lawsuits allege code of silence and come in the wake of 82 convictions overturned in last 3 years

Nineteen people who were framed by disgraced former Chicago police sergeant Ronald Watts and members of Watts’ tactical team this afternoon sued Watts, members of his team, the City of Chicago, and high-ranking supervisors with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Together with their families, friends and attorneys, they will hold an 11 am press conference tomorrow, Friday, February 15 at Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, 311 N. Aberdeen Street, 3rd floor, Chicago.

The lawsuits allege that a “code of silence” throughout the CPD allowed disgraced former Police Sergeant Ronald Watts to run an extortion ring with impunity in and around the former Ida B. Wells housing project and the city’s south side. Watts and Officer Kallatt Mohammed—who is also named in many of the lawsuits—were convicted on federal charges in 2013.

The nineteen individuals filing suit all had drug convictions that were overturned in 2018. As of today, 63 people who were framed by the Watts crew have had their convictions overturned.

The Chicago Police Department belatedly put 15 officers tied to Watts on desk duty, years after first learning about the allegations relating to Watts and his crew. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s will no longer call 10 officers tied to Watts to testify “due to concerns about their credibility and alleged involvement in the misconduct of Sergeant Watts.” Separate Illinois courts have called this scandal “one of the most staggering cases of police corruption in the history of the City of Chicago” and chastised the City’s police disciplinary oversight body for doing “nothing to slow down the criminal” police officers.

Many of the 19 people will be present at the news conference, as will attorneys for the victims from Loevy & Loevy. Copies of the lawsuits are combined here as one pdf and will also be available at the news conference.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms and has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.

 

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