CHICAGO — Seven Chicago police officers connected to a corrupt sergeant who shook down drug dealers have been placed on desk duty as their conduct is investigated.
The action came hours after a Cook County judge threw out the felony drug convictions of 15 black men who all say they were locked up for no other reason except that they refused to pay the officers’ leader, former Sgt. Ronald Watts.
When asked earlier about the status of the officers tied to Watts, Superintendent Eddie Johnson noted none had been convicted of a crime and their jobs couldn’t be taken from them arbitrarily.
Police Board chairwoman Lori Lightfoot dismissed Johnson’s stance. She said any of the officers remaining on the job “must be quickly brought to justice through criminal prosecution and/or disciplinary action.”
Watts and another officer pleaded guilty to stealing money from an FBI informant. Watts served 22 months in prison.