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

Rob Hart
November 02, 2018 - 1:05 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Seven more people who were arrested and convicted of crimes by officers connected to a corrupt Chicago Police Sergeant saw their convictions overturned Friday.

One by one the convictions were overturned Friday in the courtroom of Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. Over 50 convictions have been overturned since Watts did a stretch in federal prison in 2012.

Investigators said Watts and officers under his command would shake down people in the Ida B. Wells housing project.  Those who didn't pay protection money were framed for crimes they did not commit.

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

Attorney Joshua Tepfer of the Exoneration Project said Watts is the tip of the iceberg.

"Don't forget the team of individuals who have planted evidence, lied in police reports, obstructed justice, falsely testified in court. They are criminals. Where is the accountability?"

Tepfe and six out of the seven people were present in the courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building when their convictions were overturned. They will get certificates of innocence.

Deon Willis said it will help him find a job.

"I applied for jobs and jobs.  My background.  These guys sent me to the joint twice.  I had two x's on my background.  No one want to hire me," Willis said.

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

Kenneth Hicks said Watts sentence wasn't long enough.

"I lost everything when I got locked up," Hicks said. "He did 22 months, when I feel he should've done a whole lot more. Plus he arrested more than 22 guys. He ruined more than 22 lives."

Tepfer said his office is investigating up to 100 Watts related convictions. 

Fifteen Chicago police officers who worked for watts are now on desk duty, and 10 have been barred from testifying in criminal cases.