Several members of the Chicago Police Department’s Area Central anti-gang team have been suspended from power due to a federal criminal probe investigating allegations that they stole from drug dealers. While no arrests have been made, it is expected that there will be criminal charges levied against the officers.
A 45-year-old sergeant who was formerly a member of a joint FBI task force and three officers are currently known to have had their police powers stripped. Sources told the Tribune that searches have been conducted by police at two of the officers’ homes.
The FBI and Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division have spent nearly a year on the investigation following complaints from an informant who claimed he had been robbed by the anti-gang team. The anti-gang team usually operates in the South Side and part of the West Side of Chicago.
Authorities investigating the complaint opted to set up a sting operation so that the officers’ transgressions could be recorded on video. There were also wiretaps conducted on the officers’ cell phones.
The sergeant in question is a veteran officer who has been employed in his department since 1996. The Tribune reported that among the 23 complaints filed against him in over two decades of police service are alleged illegal arrests, civil rights violations, and improper use of a weapon. In addition to this, the sergeant was named in four federal lawsuits, including an open case that occurred in 2014 when police fatally shot a man who allegedly attacked officers with a knife.
The Chicago Police Department issued a written statement yesterday, but declined to reveal any additional details, saying “We cannot comment on any investigation — internal or otherwise — until or unless criminal charges are filed.”
These types of allegations are not new to Chicago, as the Chicago Sun Times listed similar crimes that occurred in the past. This includes Chicago police Sergeant Ronald Watts being sentenced to two years in prison in October 2013 for extorting drug dealers.
The current investigation into the Chicago police department’s anti-gang team is ongoing, with more information likely to be revealed when charges are made.