CHICAGO (CBS)Matthew Dixon was thrown behind bars for a crime he said he didn’t commit, and since then, the crooked cops who arrested him have both been sentenced to prison for lying, stealing, and falsifying police reports.

On Thursday, Dixon talked with CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey about his fight to clear his name.

Dixon’s case is one of dozens now being reviewed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. So far 38 convictions have been overturned.

Dixon noted the police motto is “protect and serve.” When asked if the police protected him, he said, “No, they didn’t, at all.”

Dixon had a job, was working towards his commercial driver’s license, and would soon welcome a son when he had a 2017 run in with Officer David Salgado and Sgt. Xavier Elizondo that changed his life.

“I got put up in jail for no reason,” Dixon said.

On April 1, 2017, the officers entered an apartment in the building at 7219 S. Phillips Ave. in South Shore that the then-24-year-old Dixon was visiting along with his friend, Antwon Scott.

Police entered the building without a search warrant, and claimed they saw Dixon holding a “golf-size ball” of crack cocaine.

“They bust in the door, ran in, and grabbed us,” he said.

Dixon did not even know why he was being arrested, the petition said. He was later told he was being charged with possessing cocaine with the intent to deliver, the petition said.

After Dixon was charged, he was placed on electronic monitoring, the petition said. But he was living at someone else’s home, and that person told him he would have to leave, the petition said.

Dixon knew he could not leave without violating the terms of his electronic monitoring and being sent to jail, the petition said. Thus, when the state offered him 24 months of probation in exchange for a guilty plea, he took the deal even though he had been falsely arrested and had done nothing to warrant the charges against him, the petition said.

Scott pleaded not guilty and fought the case, filing a motion to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, the petition said. On Jan. 23, 2018, a hearing was held on Scott’s motion with Officer Salgado as the only witness, the petition said.

Based on Salgado’s testimony, a judge found he had made a warrantless entry to the Phillips Avenue building and the motion was granted, the petition said. A month later, charges against Scott were dropped.

“There’s criminals with badges – that’s what they are,” said attorney Joshua Tepfer of the Exoneration Project.

The officers testified to seeing Dixon and his friend knocking on the window of the Phillips Avenue building.

The heavy front door for the building closes automatically. When someone opened the door, the officers said Dixon and Scott were able to slip in and gain entry.

The only problem is they were standing all the 140 feet away when they saw the door open, based on Salgado’s own report.

Dixon is now on parole. He lost his job and has since struggled to get a new one with his record.

“I thought I was the only person that went through it,” he said.

It turns out Elizondo and Salgado had been illegally raiding homes, lying, and stealing from their victims for years.

Both were convicted in federal court.

“What goes around comes back,” Dixon said.

Last week, Salgado was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly to 71 months, nearly six years, in prison. Last month, Kennelly sentenced Elizondo to 87 months in prison.

The two were assigned to a gang unit in the 10th District on the West Side. Federal prosecutors have said they conspired to falsely obtain search warrants that allowed them to search properties and seize cash and drugs. They then falsified police reports to hide the thefts.

According to the indictment, Elizondo and Salgado submitted the applications for search warrants by having their informants furnish false information to a judge. After using the warrants to seize cash, drugs and cartons of cigarettes from Chicago properties, the officers allegedly gave a portion of those items to the informants.

Again, in Dixon’s case, they did not even have a search warrant.

The officers were relieved of their police duties in 2018, and are also facing civil lawsuits from people whose homes were invaded in 2017 and 2018.

“It is repulsive corruption from individuals who are sworn to protect them,” Tepfer said.

Tepfer believes there are likely dozens of other cases out there just like Dixon’s, involving people who had their lives changed forever by these two corrupt cops.

“I’d be a free man with nothing hanging over me,” Dixon said.

On Wednesday, a Cook County judge set the next court date for Dixon’s case Aug. 11.

 

Megan Hickey