In a sudden about-face Thursday night, Chicago police said seven cops once part of an allegedly corrupt crew will be removed from street duties while their conduct years ago is investigated.
The reversal came hours after Cook County prosecutors threw out the convictions of 15 men who were framed by the crew — led by former Sgt. Ronald Watts, who did prison time for shaking down drug dealers.
One by one, the men told the same story: A Chicago police officer would demand money from them. And if they didn’t pay, they would find themselves in handcuffs with drugs stuffed in their pockets. A Cook County judge on Thursday threw out the felony drug convictions of 15 black men who all say they were locked up for no other reason except that they refused to pay Ronald Watts.