CHICAGO (CBS)–The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office on Friday is expected to move to clear seven more drug convictions tied to corrupt former Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts and other officers under his command.
At least 42 men have been exonerated since 2012 when Watts pleaded guilty to stealing from a homeless man who posed as a drug dealer as part of an undercover FBI sting. He admitted to routinely extorting money from drug dealers, and was sentenced to 22 months in prison.
Dozens of men and women have claimed Watts and his team terrorized them in or near the former Ida B. Wells housing project in Bronzeville between 2003 and 2008. Watts and his officers allegedly planted drugs on suspects and falsified police reports.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx apologized in September when 18 of those men were cleared, and said she hopes dismissing their cases helps to right the wrongs of the past.
In 2017, prosecutors cleared 15 men who were allegedly framed.
The Conviction Integrity Unit in the state’s attorney’s office has continued to work on the dozens of more cases tied to Watts, trying to determine if any other convictions were a result of the scandal.