CHICAGO (CBS) — Two CPD officers convicted in federal court of fabricating evidence for search warrants- then stealing from innocent people – now face civil lawsuits from those whose homes were invaded in 2017 and 2018.
CPD Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado were relieved of their police duties in 2018.READ MORE: Chicagoans React To President Biden' Plan To Tackle The City's Gun Probem
Now more Chicago families are coming forward with the same traumatizing story.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey sat down with one mom who talked about the terror she and her children said they still feel every day.
“It’s disgusting to honestly because I always told them you respect the police you talk to them be honest to them. You’re not going to get in trouble if you tell them the truth how could they terrorize my family like that?”
Michaela Cruz is talking about the moment she came home to her apartment in Little Village in January 2018 to find her 16-year-old in handcuffs and officers in SWAT gear pointing guns in her face and at two of her four children.
Cruz was slapped with a narcotics charge that was quickly dropped.
Her home was actually raided a second time, a year later. Fortunately when her children weren’t home.
According to a recently filed federal lawsuit, both search warrants were bogus based on fabricated evidence from a “John Doe” informant.
That’s something that two of the Chicago police officers involved, Sergeant Xavier Elizondo and officer David Salgado, captured on body cam video from a different Chicago raid, have a history of.
“Those two officers have since been convicted in federal court,” said attorney John Lovey, who is representing Irene Simmons and Michaela Cruz in the civil suit. “This perpetuated under the CPD and nobody did any about it. It took the FBI to get involved.”
Simmons was alone with her granddaughter when police invaded her home. The officers said they had warrants to enter and charged Simmons with a narcotics crime that was later dropped.
Also named in the lawsuit is the city of Chicago for what attorneys said was a code of silence within the department.
In October, they were actually convicted of federal conspiracy and theft charges stemming of their use of bogus search warrants in the past.
“Relieved a little that they were off the streets,” Cruz said.
Her family is one of two now coming forward with nearly identical stories of bad raids involving Elizondo and Salgado.
This lawsuit comes on the heels of an 18-month ongoing investigation exposing wrong raids from CPD officers throughout the city. It was the subject of a CBS 2 documentary about the issue: [un]warranted.READ MORE: Minooka Community High School District 111 And Stanley Fabian Come To Agreement On Lawsuit
If you have been a victim of a wrong raid, we want to hear from you. Click here to let CBS 2 know about your experience.
“These so-called informants were not willing informants. These so-called informants were themselves incentivized or terrorized or threatened by these same officers to cooperate,” said attorney Joshua Tapfer.
According to the attorneys representing the women, both said the officers used fake search warrants to make their way into their homes, plant drugs and falsify charges.
Cruz said she’s coming forward in the hopes that other impacted families will have the courage to tell their stories.
“I don’t got no choice but to look up,” Cruz said. “You know, you gotta look up. And hold the Chicago Police Department accountable for the actions of its officers.”
But Cruz said the wrong raid has permanently affected her children.
“They cannot even hear a knock at the door without being scared,” Cruz said, who added that she has tried to get therapy for them but they refuse to go because they are still afraid.
“My daughter and son do not want to talk to anyone,” Cruz said. “(They) do not trust anyone.”
For her, the effects linger.
“I get nervous and panic attacks when I see blue lights,” Cruz said. “Now I just have more fear and anxiety.”
Elizondo and Salgado will be sentenced in federal court in February.
The city of Chicago said it had no comment on pending litigation.
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— Megan Hickey (@MeganHickeyTV) January 22, 2020