A yearlong investigation by the FBI and the Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division has unraveled allegations against multiple police officers of an Area Central gang team ripping off drug dealers.
The officers in question, which include one sergeant, have been stripped of their powers. No arrests have been made but charges are expected to be filed, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The sergeant was previously a part of an FBI task force. The Tribune could not name the officers as they have not been charged, but learned that the sergeant, who has been with the CPD since 1996 and has 23 complaints against him over the period of those 21 years. He has been disciplined only once for these complaints.
Agents went to the suspected officers’ homes, arriving in armored vehicles and shining spotlights. “They were going around and knocking on everyone’s doors, telling people not to go outside,” a neighbor of one of the officers in Pilsen told the Tribune.
This is not the first time in Chicago policing history that a team of officers have been accused of such a crime. The first major scandal happened in 1960 when eight officers were accused of operating a burglary ring. Another federal probe in the 1990s revealed seven officers were involved with robbing drug dealers.
The city is also recently dealing with the accusations of corruption facing officer Ronald Watts and his team.
Last November, 18 convictions tied to 15 defendants were overturned. All of the defendants served time after being arrested by Watts.
The defendants were arrested between 2003 – 2008 with some of them serving up to nine years in prison. The convictions will be turned over as Watts and his team allegedly planted drugs on those they arrested and falsified court records. “Part of that corruption was the routine framing of citizens,” Exoneration Project attorney Joshua Tepfer said.
Another Chicago officer is facing charges for theft in battery in connection to a bar-fight while off-duty last December.
Last year, the Sun-Times investigated how rarely Chicago officers get disciplined for being intoxicated, of which officers are not allowed to be either on- or off-duty.
The Sun-Times analyzed thousands of court records between 1997 and 2014 and reviewed nearly 400 officers that were part of these police disciplinary cases, including criminal charges of DUIs.