In what’s said to be the first mass exoneration in history, an Illinois judge has thrown out the convictions of 15 men who were framed by a corrupt ex-police sergeant and several of his officers in the Chicago Police Department between 2003 and 2008.
The police officers, led by then-Sgt. Ronald Watts, allegedly extorted the 15 men in separate incidents over those five years in a public housing project on Chicago’s South Side. If they didn’t pay, they would have drugs planted on them and a team of officers would lie on the stand, and the men got jail time. Some had already served out their sentences, others were still sitting in jail when the ruling came down late Thursday.
“In these cases, we concluded, unfortunately, that the police were not being truthful,” Mark Rotert, the director of Cook County State Attorney’s conviction integrity unit, told reporters .  …