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Ruling Requires Exonerated Plaintiffs to Testify in Civil Suit

Those suing members of a Chicago police tactical team over widespread misconduct at a former Bronzeville housing project more than a decade ago must answer questions about subsequent arrests ahead of the case moving forward in federal court. This after a magistrate denied their request to bar the line of inquiry in depositions for fear of reprisal. The Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney has thus far tossed more than 100 convictions in connection with the case, which began when former Sgt. Ronald Watts and a deputy were found guilty of stealing government funds in an FBI sting.

Attorneys for the more than 70 people who are seeking redress from current and former members of the team that patrolled the Ida B. Wells Housing Complex between 2002 and 2008 sought to bar the line of inquiry both for pertinence and fear of reprisal. Lawyers for the cops, who for years extorted protection money from drug dealers, want to ask them about criminal conduct following the razing of the project to establish credibility. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan called such details germane and labelled as novel the idea that they’d be placed in danger by providing accounts of conduct for which they were not charged. The conspiracy to fabricate evidence and arrest reports by Watts and his crew led to plaintiffs serving more than 250 years in jail on trumped up charges. 

If you believe you have been improperly arrested, charged or convicted of a crime, the Cook County Criminal Defense Attorneys at The Chicagoland Law Firm are waiting to hear from you. Our team of legal professionals defend clients in courts around the state, including in cases of police misconduct. To discuss the facts in your case, contact our offices in downtown Chicago and Downers Grove. This free consultation isn’t an offer of legal advice. Should you retain us, we can get to work on crafting a strategy that achieves the best possible outcome for the facts in your case. We are your best defense.

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