18 Men Exonerated After Charges Tied To Corrupt Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts

Rob Hart
September 24, 2018 - 12:28 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- More than a dozen people arrested by Chicago police officers linked to a corrupt sergeant saw their convictions vacated Monday.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx was in court room 101, at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building at 26th and California, as the judge dismissed convictions against 18 people who were arrested by Chicago Police officers linked to Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts. 

The latest hearing is part of an ongoing effort to clear the records of people who were arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison based on evidence from Watts and his crew.

Watts served time in federal prison for shaking down drug dealers. 

Martez Wise was exonerated Monday. 

"I'm just aiming to move forward with my life and find different opportunities, stop being turned around from different places when I apply for jobs," said Martez Wise, who served four years in prison after his arrest in 2008.

Joshua Tepfer, attorney with the Exoneration Project, said mass exonerations are rare, but he adds the circumstances that led to their arrest were extraordinary.

"This crew of officers was just dirty.  They were just really dirty and really dirty for a long time.  These were just made up cases," Tepfer said.

The 18 men will seek a certificate of innocence.

A total of 42 convictions linked to Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts will have been overturned after Monday. The latest reversals are drug cases from between 2003 and 2008.

The State's Attorney's Office said the number of Watts' cases currently under review is in the double digits.